Eating Ourselves to Death

A healthy long life is the desire of the Lord for all.  Healing is much preached on but what about living a healthy lifestyle? Here is my confession as a sugarholic.

"Hi, my name is Orlando and I am a sugarholic."  That should be the opening statement of testimony time in church followed up by, "I want to share with you how the Lord delivered me from sugar addiction".  You don't hear that in church. Instead the usual deliverance stories, 'I was an alcoholic, I was a drug addict etc".

I share this with you because I am a sugar addict and I am going "cold turkey" and not feeling very nice as I write this.  2016 is my year of deliverance.  I have spent a lifetime indulging myself in my sugar addiction.  My body cannot take it anymore.

I noted recent reports in American media that great American football quarterback Tom Brady at 38 when most NFL players have long retired says he is determined to play into his 40's at top performance and to do that he has put himself on a drastic diet. Out goes sugar in comes fruits, veggies, whole grains etc.  I turn 65 next month and I want to work still to 80. Part of the reason being I made such a hash up of my first 15 years after college that I need to tack on 15 years of productive work after normal retirement at 65 and to do that like Mr. Brady wanting to play on into his 40's I need to get serious abut my eating habits.

My further motivation is that I think the church is heading into a wonderful transition period over the next 20 years and I want to be a continuing part of that. Heaven can wait a while longer.

Kingdom living is a lifestyle

Christians are getting sucked into a world lifestyle that is destroying their testimony.  I have written in my previous blogs about Kingdom finances how that prosperity does not come from magic formulas like tithing or miracle money; it comes from a productive life which the Bible throughout the Old Testament gives the outlines for.

Similar with healing.  Healing in our churches has become a favourite topic for preaching and we have these wonderful sermons on "by His stripes we are healed..." and exercising our faith and gifts of healing. Great.  But when last have you heard systematic teaching on healthy eating habits?

Why not? It's in the Bible.  Go through the Old Testament and you have the Lord clearly saying to Israel there are good foods and there are bad foods for you. You must eat good foods.

But this food thing gets bogged down into the usual "don't eat pork" debate. And there you lose me and most other evangelicals with some great sermons on "we are not under law but under grace."  Here is my take on this...

I do not get into debates on Sabbath.  I believe in the principle of what God was telling the Israelites. One day a week, rest. I don't care if it is Saturday or Sunday. If you are unsure...rest on both days.  Pork? Here is what I believe is the issue. Pork in those days carried an enormous parasite load that they did not have the technology to deal with.  You pick up all sorts of diseases eating untreated pork. Today I am happy to eat bacon with my eggs.

What is the issue?

The Lord wants us to realize that there are good foods and bad foods.  He expects us to use the intelligence he gave us to search these things out. He has given us a warning: Do not eat certain foods....eat other foods.

Daniel and his friends were captives of the Babylonians. They were intelligent youngsters from the nobility of Judah.  The Babylonians picked them out for special training. For that they got a special rich Babylonian court diet. Daniel and friends rejected that. (Dan.1:12)  They said no thanks we want vegetables and water.  They ended up top of the class in their studies.

Take a close look at Daniel and friends.  In the midst of Babylon and captivity they studied hard, they prayed and worshipped to the Lord daily and they ate right. They had their body, mind and spirit under control in the midst of all the temptations of the luxuries of Babylon.

Can we say that of ourselves in the midst of the greatest access to luxuries the world has ever seen? 

If the Bible were written today and the Lord wanted to warn us not to eat unhealthy foods, what would Jesus say?  I do not think pork would be on His list.  I think our huge daily intake of sugar would be the top of the list...here is why.

The health crisis in the church...

A recent report in our national media here had this headline,  "3.5 million in South Africa have diabetes as the epidemic grows".  Two thirds of our women are overweight or obese and one third of our men.

The biggest killer in our country and most other countries in the world is heart disease that leads to heart attacks, high blood pressure that leads to strokes.  Diabetes is a killer.  All these diseases can be linked to our enormous intake of sugar in our foods. What happens is that with the huge intake of sugar we develop insulin resistance to sugar. Our insulin no longer works to metabolize our sugars and we destroy our body and organs with high levels of toxic sugar in our blood stream. Then we need to start taking insulin shots. 

Look at the typical congregation in our churches in on a Sunday morning and tell me we do not have an obesity crisis and with it all the chronic diseases that go with it.  We are dealing here with a lifestyle crisis in our churches.

Pastors are excited to preach about "healing"....what about healthy lifestyle eating. I can tell you they absolutely avoid that for fear of hurting half the feelings in the church.  And yet it is in the Bible.  But it gets conveniently ignored under the usual "we are not under law".  Until the law of insulin resistance takes hold and then we are desperate for a miracle of healing.

The Lifestyle witness to the world....

The essence of the Kingdom Vision is that Jesus is Lord over all aspects of life.  That is what all those Old testament laws were all about. The Lord asked Israel to be a witness to the nations in all areas of life. Their families, their finances, their children, their justice system....and their eating habits.

I do not slavishly follow each exact law as found there (except the 10 Commandments).  I ask myself what is the lesson here about a type of lifestyle that the Lord wants and how do I do that in the 21st century.  Right eating has now become part of my Kingdom lifestyle. It should have started years ago. If I want to put in another 15 productive years for the Lord I know I will need to sacrifice certain bad food habits.

Here are some suggestions.....

The discipline of fasting should once again become part of a normal Christian life. It is hardly ever preached on. There are some good books out there explaining it.  Start simple. Years ago I started a habit of not eating on a Monday.  I did this because I still wanted to indulge myself on a weekend, especially a great Sunday meal.  I realized my body just could not take all that food in anymore.  So I decided to give my digestive system time to catch up on all the food intake of the weekend and not eat Monday.  It has helped a lot.

Glucose is also sugar....
When you see bread, pasta etc. get this picture in your mind....for your body those foods are pure sugar in the form of glucose.  When you take in starch, the acids in your stomach break down the starch into glucose....sugar.  And your body gets a nice instant sugar rush.

When you eat a lot of starches and then still pile on the sweets you overload your body with huge amounts of sugars. That is why doctors recommend high fibre breads.  What happens is that the high fibre slows down the breakdown of the starches into glucose and so you have a slow release of glucose in your system.

Get into a high veggie, fruit, nuts and lean meat diet with exercise.  All good diets will always tell you this so I am not going to make a big deal here...we know what we should eat.

Get rid of your easily accessible comfort food....

My easily accessible comfort foods are as follows:
- A tub of ice cream in the freezer.
- chocolate slabs in the pantry (only top quality best tasting Cadbury and Lindt)
- A cookie jar filled with various of my favourite cookies
- a can of condensed milk in the fridge.
- A supply of rusks with my coffee.
- Some sort of chocolate cake or apple crumble in the cake holder.

I am addicted to all of the above.  I need daily intakes of all the above at various times of the day and night.  I threw the lot out.  But I still have a can of condensed milk in the pantry for emergency.  I bought raw carrots, nuts, biltong (jerky) to munch on and I am now in stages of sugar withdrawal and not happy.  And also amazed at how sugar is a mood enhancer.

I will one day again eat these foods but only in moderation when I know I have broken the habit of sugar addiction.  Will keep you apprised of my progress.

The successful life that the Lord has called us to requires a covenant relationship between us and the Lord.  He does His part, we do our part.

He asks us to become disciples...the root of which is "discipline".  Discipline in our mind, body and spirit...that is our part.

Just a moment for an advertisement....

Annora and I decided to take this ministry of healthy eating to a business level by starting a national chain of shops called "Anja's Banting Pantry".  It stocks the biggest range in the world of no sugar, no gluten, low carb foods. (more than 180 items) Our best sellers include no sugar chocolate cakes and brownie mixes, no wheat bread mixes. We have an online store at www.anjasbantingpantry.co.za.  For those of you who are diabetic or want to lose weight look up the nearest store to you. We have 30 stores already around the country.  For those of you who want to open your own store in your town because you want to take this on as a ministry, there is no franchise fee. Just send Annora an email on the site and we will do what we an to assist you.

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