Raw Veganism, Biblical Nutrition, and Health Principles

by James Ong
Singapore

My purpose for writing this article is two-fold.  Firstly, it is to show that proponents of raw veganism as Biblical nutrition, period (hereinafter abbreviated as PRAVEBN) are actually spreading a diet heresy that is demonic in origin.  Secondly, it is to share with you what the Bible actually prescribes for good health.

In studying what the Bible has to teach us about nutrition and health, it is helpful to bear in mind a number of cardinal truths.  First of all, we need to know that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NKJV) Therefore, in seeking to understand what God has to say about any topic, we have to carefully and systematically review all passages in the Bible that have a bearing on the topic, trusting that the same Holy Spirit who inspired, say Genesis 1:29, also inspired Genesis 9:3 and many other related passages appearing later in the Bible. Only then can we form a proper theology on the topic.

Secondly, we must realize that despite all that human beings have achieved in science and technology, his understanding is still limited. God’s wisdom and intelligence is far superior than man’s. Isaiah 55:8-9 proclaims: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  So when a medical researcher, doctor, nutritionist or religious teacher comes up with some new theory that contradicts the Bible, as Christians we know that either the theorist was biased or there were some flaws in his experiments or, perhaps, no proper experiments were done at all to prove the theory (see also 1 Corinthians 1:19-31 where Paul discusses man’s folly versus God’s wisdom).  For instance, it was previously thought that the best way to minimize the risk for certain cancers of the digestive tract, hypertension and cardiovascular disease was to consume a low-fat diet.  Today, cutting edge nutritional research tells us that there are good fats and there are bad fats. Certain fats are essential for health (the omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, EFAs). Without adequate EFAs, we will die. Even saturated fats and cholesterol are not as harmful as they were once thought to be as long as these are not consumed excessively. Trans-fatty acids in the form of heated refined vegetable oils, margarine and vegetable shortening are the real culprits.

Thirdly, we must believe that God is love and every commandment, statute and precept He has given in His Word is meant for our good and welfare.  Isaiah 48:17-19: Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants also would have been like the sand, and the offspring of your body like the grains of sand; his name would not have been cut off nor destroyed from before Me.”

Before I expose PRAVEBN for what it really is, let us examine more evidence in the Bible that God intends for us to eat both animal and plant foods (you may read my earlier letters for other evidence).

Genesis 1:29 and 9:3 (NJKV)

Let us place Genesis 1:29 and 9:3 side by side to properly understand these two verses:

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.”

The first thing we should note about these verses is that they were both spoken by God to man in the context of a blessing (please read the preceding few verses).  Certainly, one would not expect someone who blesses another to give him poison as food!

Secondly, if we were to analyze these two verses carefully, we will discover that both of these verses are very similar in structure.  They are both God-given instructions to man, which may be further broken down into two parts – grant of authority and exacting of responsibility.  The first (highlighted in bold) involves God’s grant of authority or permission to man that he may freely take the life of both seed-bearing trees/plants and clean animals  for consumption.  The second (underlined) denotes an obligation on man’s part, even a command, that man should derive his nourishment from both plant and animal foods. In both instances, the Bible uses the word “shall” (hayah in Hebrew) to show that it is not an option.  It is for this reason that self-inflicted starvation or anorexia nervosa is a sin condition that has to be dealt with.  As the creation of God, we have a God-given responsibility to take care of our bodies by consuming the foods that God has provided for us. Animal food is not depicted as inferior to plant food in any way. It nourishes us in the same way that plant foods do (“even as the green herbs”).  In both instances, the same Hebrew word for “food”, oklah, is used.

In fact, the Bible often depicts animal foods to be somewhat superior.  For instance, the Promised Land of Canaan is described as a land flowing with milk and honey, both of which are animal foods, not a land flowing with lettuces and tomatoes.  Meat was often offered to special guests and eaten on festive occasions (e.g. Genesis 18:7-8, 1 Samuel 25:8-18).

Today, medical and nutritional research has proven God’s wisdom in giving the instruction in Genesis 9:3.  Human beings cannot manufacture Vitamin B12 and the 8 essential amino acids needed by the body but must obtain them from food.  Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods.  Deficiency in Vitamin B12 leads to pernicious anemia (disease of the red blood cells), neuropathy (nerve damage) and brain damage. Blood tests of vegetarians have shown that they are often deficient in Vitamin B12, essential amino acids, the fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K, even Vitamins B1 and B2, and certain minerals such as zinc, magnesium, iron and selenium.  These are essential nutrients for health.  Long-term veganism has been implicated in female infertility, miscarriages, reproductive disorders, low sperm count, dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, depression, blindness, brain damage and other diseases of the nervous system.  In short, vegans who fail to supplement with Vitamin B12 (the natural form of which comes from an animal source) and other micronutrients are digging their own graves.  We must remember that in Bible times, there were no manufactured nutritional supplements or artificially fortified foods.  All the macro- and micronutrients that are essential for health were to be obtained naturally from food that was eaten daily.  How then can PRAVEBN claim that their diet is the God-approved, Biblically-sanctioned way to eat? 

Animal foods are called complete proteins because they contain all 8 essential amino acids, the building blocks of life. Without these, our bodies will not be able to produce new cells (including hair, skin, sperm and eggs), tissues, enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Nutritionists believe that we need about 1 gram of complete protein for every 2 pounds of body weight. To get the equivalent of these from plant foods, a vegan has to eat a wide variety of grains, legumes, nuts and seeds everyday. This can lead to an overload of carbohydrates. Experts such as Dr Barry Sears, Ph.D., have shown that having an excess of carbohydrate intake can lead to problems such as weight gain, increased body fat, production of bad prostaglandins, hyperinsulinemia/hypoglycemia and cardiovascular diseases, besides putting stress on the pancreas and adrenal glands.  Furthermore, to use an illustration from the IT industry, why would we want to buy individual word processing, spreadsheet, email, scheduling and database programs when we can buy an integrated software package that already comes with all these?  Animal foods inferior to plant foods?  Says who?

Before leaving Genesis 1:29 and 9:3, I wish to point out that there is another important reason why animal food was given to man.  Besides providing nourishment, consumption of meat was supposed to form part of the religious ritual of animal sacrifices.  Notice that God blessed Noah after he offered clean animals on the sacrificial altar and God was pleased with the offering. Implicit in the Genesis 9:3 command is that God expects man to continue offering clean animal sacrifices to Him.  These are to serve as the forerunner to the ultimate sacrifice of the perfect God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  I shall deal with this very important subject in greater detail later.

Deuteronomy 12:20-28 (NKJV)

“When the Lord your God enlarges your border as He has promised you, and you say, ‘Let me eat meat,’ because you long to eat meat, you may eat as much meat as your heart desires. “If the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which the Lord has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires. “Just as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so you may eat them; the unclean and the clean alike may eat them. “Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat. “You shall not eat it; you shall pour it on the earth like water. “You shall not eat it, that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord. “Only the holy things which you have, and your vowed offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the Lord chooses. “And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the meat and the blood, on the altar of the Lord your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the Lord your God, and you shall eat the meat. “Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.

This passage is straightforward and self-explanatory.  Notice that God does not restrict His people over how much or how often meat may be eaten.  Notice also that both the clean and unclean may eat meat. In the Pentateuch, “unclean” sometimes refers to people who are sick in the body.  Hence, we see that God does not even restrict the sick from eating meat.

What I wish to highlight is the instruction not to eat blood, which represents the life of the animal. PRAVEBN often teach that living beings must derive nourishment from living foods, hence we must eat raw.  They give the illustration that all animals eat their food raw.  For this reason, they hardly ever fall sick.  This teaching is unscriptural, even demonic, steeped in New Age thinking.  God expressly prohibits any thought that we can eat the life of another living thing.  He is the source of all life.  It is in Him that we live and move and have existence (Acts 17:28).  His Spirit breathed into our nostrils the breath of life and so we became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).  He alone is the sustainer and preserver of our lives.

Insofar as raw foods preserves most of the nutrients and enzymes, it is good for us to eat them uncooked.  But we must never entertain the thought that raw foods give us “life”.

Exodus 16:3 and Numbers 11:4-6

And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: “Who will give us meat to eat? 5“We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; 6“but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”

My purpose for quoting these two passages is to show the typical diet of the Israelites during their sojourn in Goshen, Egypt.  Yes, the manner in which they asked for meat left much to be desired. Yet, the point I am trying to make is this: on such a diet of cooked meat, bread and either cooked or raw vegetables, the family of Israel grew from 70 (when they first arrived in Goshen during the time of Joseph) to an estimated population of 2-3 million in just 430 years (roughly 10 generations)! How then can PRAVEBN claim that humans cannot thrive unless they consume a raw vegan diet?

The Diet of David and His Military Commanders

Let us look at the typical diet of David and his mighty men. 

The references are 1 Samuel 17:17-18, 25:18 and 2 Samuel 17:28-29.  They ate roasted/parched grains of wheat and barley, bread and cakes made of fine flour, beans, lentils, parched seeds, raisins, figs, honey, curds, cheese and mutton.  With this omnivorous diet, David derived strength to slay Goliath, the giant, and defeated the enemies of Israel in battle.  The exploits of David’s mighty men are recorded in 2 Samuel 23:8-39.  Among them are warriors who achieved great victories in battle, one of them even single-handedly killed 300 men at one battle.  Who says eating animal foods is unhealthy? And we should also not forget men like Joshua, Caleb and Samson.

Parable of the Lost Son

In this beautiful parable (Luke 15:11-32), it is interesting to note that the father of the prodigal son immediately ordered the slaughtering of a fattened calf for a meal to celebrate the return of his lost son.  Notice that it is not just beef (or more accurately, veal) but fattened beef! If a fattened calf were so toxic, why would the father (which in the parable is commonly understood to represent God, our loving Heavenly Father) have done such a senseless thing?  Shouldn't he have asked for a meal of raw fruits and vegetables instead, especially for a son who has been lost and malnourished for so long?  PRAVEBN are very much like the elder brother in the parable, completely misunderstanding the heart and intentions of God.  In that parable, the father told the eldest son that all that he has, i.e. including his flocks/herds, is freely available for him to partake.  Nutritionists know that a meal of fattened beef provides the severely malnourished man with the essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, saturated fats (including the important, health-enhancing palmitioleic and stearic acids) and cholesterol that his body so desperately needs.

Mark 7:13-23 (NKJV)

making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: “There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, 19“because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?” And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. “All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Although Jesus used this occasion to teach the true source of spiritual defilement, it is very significant that He also spoke His mind regarding food.  What was Jesus saying about food, and how do we interpret this passage, especially vs. 19?  Jesus was teaching His disciples the basics of nutrition and digestion. Food that God has given for man’s consumption (i.e. both plant and animal foods sanctioned in the Bible), when taken into the body, is acted upon by the digestive system (represented by the “stomach”).  The nutrients that the body needs are retained by the system and those that the body does not need are eliminated (when one goes to the lavatory, which is the literal reading in Greek).  God has so designed our digestive system that we are supremely able to digest and assimilate ALL foods and eliminate wastes that our bodies do not need. In the KJV, the last part of vs. 19 reads, “purging all foods.”  In the NIV, NASB and Amplified Bible, it reads, “He declared all foods clean.” The message is the same - no food is to be considered impure or unclean.

How relevant this passage is for PRAVEBN! They make the Word of God (Genesis 9:3) of no effect with their teaching, falling into the trap of pride, foolishness, blasphemy, deceit and wickedness.  For they treat the gracious gifts of God with contempt, teaching that flesh putrefies in our gut, thereby introducing toxins into our bodies.  They even propose the theory that man’s life was shortened from 900 years to 120 years because he consumed the animal foods that God gave him.

Doctrine of Deceiving Spirits and Demons

Now let us turn our attention to 1 Timothy 4:1-7 (NKJV):

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.

Contrary to what PRAVEBN claim, “every creature of God” does not refer to plants only but to both plants and animals.  Remember that Paul is a Rabbi who knows the Torah intimately. His readers are also well acquainted with the Old Testament and all of them are meat-eaters.

Why did the Holy Spirit regard the teaching that Christians abstain from certain foods as the doctrine of deceiving spirits and demons?

Here’s why:

1.      It violates the express commandments of God.

2.      It attacks the character of God. It implies that God cannot be trusted, that He slipped poison into our food to make us unwell and shorten our lives. 

3.      It causes us to doubt the authority of the rest of God’s Word.

Does this sound familiar?  Remember that this was the serpent’s (i.e. Satan’s) strategy in the Garden of Eden when he tempted Eve to eat of the fruit that God had expressly forbidden? Eve was deceived and fell into sin because she was too gullible.

Genesis 3:1-5 (NKJV)

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Many Christians who subscribe to raw veganism do so out of ignorance of God’s Word and the basics of nutrition and health science.  So they gullibly believe theories without questioning, especially since they are propounded by teachers with religious credentials.

The long-term results of following such a diet are declining fertility, poor health and ultimately death (as nutritional supplements are not available then). It also means that certain parts of the earth would not be habitable because plant foods are very scarce (e.g. the polar regions, or the dry and arid semi-desert regions).  If raw veganism were strictly followed, there was no way man could be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, in obedience to God’s commandment (Genesis 9:1), exactly the way the Devil wanted.

Beyond this direct demonic assault, there is a subtle, insidious attack from such teaching on God’s prescribed means for salvation.

As Christians, we believe that all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  The penalty for our sin is death but God had paid the penalty for us by sending Christ to the cross (Romans 6:23). It is by the atoning sacrifice of Christ, the final sacrificial Lamb of God that we may be saved from our sins (Hebrews 10:12-14).  Prior to Jesus coming, God had already prepared mankind to receive this offer of salvation.  It is through the ritual of animal sacrifice which was to serve as a reminder of sin and the propitiation for sin (see Hebrew 9:11-22, Hebrews 10:3). Beginning with Genesis 3, fallen man was shown the way to peace with God.  Adam and Eve knew what was involved because God performed the sacrifice before their very eyes.  Abel learnt it well from his parents.  Noah knew it.  So too his 3 sons.  Thus the practice of animal sacrifice spread all over the world, to every family, tribe, tongue and nation, even though over time, they did not all sacrifice to the one true God.

Now enter the demons, Satan’s messengers.  They hate the blood of atonement.  Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) states: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”  It is by the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, that Satan and his cohorts are defeated.  The memory of Christ’s work on the cross infuriates them.  So what do they do?  With some, they tried to re-direct the animal sacrifices  towards worthless idols and pagan gods.  With others, they taught that animal sacrifices are loathsome, totally uncalled for.

As for the Christians, let us first teach PRAVEBN to despise the flesh of animals because it putrefies in the gut and introduces toxins to the bodies, which is responsible for causing so many diseases.  In the process, some will be led to feel very strongly that killing an innocent animal for food is loathsome, inhumane, unethical and barbaric.  What is the next step in the process of poisoning their minds with worldly ideas?  Teach them that animal sacrifices and the shedding of blood, are loathsome, inhumane, unethical and barbaric practices.  They  must have nothing to do with them. Good. What is the next step?  Teach them that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who prescribed such sacrifices is not worthy to be worshipped since He requires such awful bloody rituals.  Finally, the death blow!  Who needs the atoning blood of Christ anyway? And we certainly do not wish Christians to celebrate the Lord’s Supper as it reminded of us of that sacrifice 2,000 years ago.  After all, bread is cooked food.  It is unhealthy for the body. In short, let us inculcate in man the spirit of Cain, not the spirit of Abel.

Now Scripture tells us that God looked favorably on Abel’s animal sacrifice and not on Cain’s who offered vegetables(Genesis 4:4).  Abel was said to have offered the better sacrifice (Hebrews 11:4), not just because he had given of the best of his produce.  There is more to it.  Abel knew that the way to restoring fellowship between sinful man and a just and holy God is through the blood atonement.  Cain, on the other hand, shows a disdain for the blood sacrifice.  He serves as the inspiration for PRAVEBN today.

Christians, do you realize the dangers of PRAVEBN? It is the first step in the downward spiral towards apostasy.

Is it not a coincidence that the same religions that advocate or command vegetarianism/veganism are the ones that deny the existence of a personal, holy God to whom sinful man are morally responsible?  These same religions deny the reality of human sin and reject blood atonement.

In these end times, Satan is using whatever means possible to undermine the faith of Christians in God and His infallible Word, which stands forever. PRAVEBN claim that they are preparing the end-time Church as an unblemished, spotless bride, ready for the coming of the Lord.  Is that true?  I believe it is doing the exact opposite.  It is paving the way for the end-time ecumenical movement that will unite apostate Christendom with all the other religions of the world, bonded together by a common belief that man should not eat animal foods.

Let us review Hebrews 9:22 (NRSV) again: “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

The continual reminder of sins and God’s provision for our salvation is so important to God that when the Temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt, animal sacrifices will be reinstated so that all mankind may remember and be grateful for what God has done for them (Ezekiel 40-48).

Scriptural Principles for Health and Wellness

What does God’s Word actually teach us about health and wellness?  I will attempt to give a brief summary of the principles. I have also included an Appendix at the end of this article highlighting the most important Scriptural references on health and healing. Detailed treatment of all the biblical principles for health is beyond the scope of this article.  There are many excellent books written on this subject.  I would recommend anyone interested in further study to read any or all of the following books: Dr Michael D. Jacobson, The Word on Health (Moody); Dr Reginald Cherry, Healing Prayer (Thomas Nelson) The Bible Cure (Harper) and The Doctor and the Word (Creation House); Dr Rex Russell, What the Bible Says About Healthy Living (Regal); Drs S I McMillen & David E. Stern, None of These Diseases (Fleming H Revell), and Dr Patrick Quillin, Healing Secrets from the Bible (Nutrition Times).

Briefly, Scripture teaches us the following general principles regarding health and healing are:

1.      God desires our health and well-being and the healing of our bodies is provided in the atonement.  Health is the believer’s covenant blessing.

2.      God is our ultimate source of healing, although He may bring about healing through both supernatural and natural means, since He is God and Lord of both realms.  We are to trust only in Him and not in some diet program, nutritionist, religious teacher, physician or pharmaceutical drug for our healing.

3.      There are several causes for sickness and ill-health, which may be classified as either natural or spiritual.  They are as follows:

Spiritual

·         Sin/Disobedience/Rebellion

·         Satanic/Demonic attack

·         Inflicted by God (often for purpose of chastisement)

·         Divinely permitted for achieving a higher purpose (e.g. to demonstrate God’s glory in healing, for developing character and faith)

Natural

·         Pathogens (i.e. bacteria, viruses, fungi, vermin)

·         Toxins (environmental, in our food, etc.)

·         Poor nutrition/diet

·         Poor sanitary habits

·         Sedentary lifestyle/lack of exercise

·         Insufficient rest

·         Fear, anxiety, worry

·         Negative emotions

·         Unhealthy practices (e.g. smoking, drinking excessively, homosexuality, extra-marital affairs, drug abuse, etc.)

·         As a natural consequence of aging

Hence, nutrition is most effective when the cause of poor health is dietary.  One can eat the most nutritious food and still be unwell if the other contributory factors are not being addressed.

4.      There is no evidence in Scripture that moderate consumption of clean animal foods (i.e. animals permitted to be eaten in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, fed and raised in the natural way, as in Bible times and slaughtered the kosher way) contributed to sickness.

5.      There is no evidence that a return to raw veganism would bring about a return of optimal health and wellness for someone who is sick.

Rather, if we carefully study the Scriptures regarding sickness and health, we will find that the Biblical prescription for optimal health and wellness are as follows:

1.      Love the LORD our God with all our hearts, with all our minds and with all our might, and love others as ourselves.

2.      Faithfully obey all the spiritual, moral and ethical commandments that He has given us in His Word (the ceremonial commandments have been fulfilled by Christ).

3.      If we have sinned and the sickness was a result of our sin, we need to repent of our sin and seek forgiveness.

4.      Observe God’s dietary laws and eat the foods that He has given for our nourishment.  That also means that we should eat them in their most natural state, with a minimum of processing.  Where necessary, we should cook our food just enough to destroy any pathogenic organisms, neutralize phytates (and other anti-nutrients found in almost all grains, seeds and legumes) and break the cellular walls to unlock the nutrients in them.  At the same time, we should avoid unnatural man-made foods and chemical additives as much as possible.

5.      Be cheerful, meditate on God’s promises and think positive thoughts about yourself, others and the world around us. 

6.      Enjoy the good things that God has blessed us with in nature. As Christians, it is therefore imperative that we show concern for the preservation of our environment and the earth’s fragile ecology (2 Peter 1:3).

7.      Practice moderation in all areas of life and do not be addicted to any habit (e.g. gluttony, sloth, workaholism) or substance (e.g. sugar, caffeine, alcohol).  

And, if we do fall sick occasionally (for as the apostle Paul said, we are all made of corruptible/perishable flesh), we should humble ourselves and pray, repent of our sins if any, seek God’s face and turn to Him for healing.  We should seek medical help if necessary, taking care to use the least invasive therapy to treat the sickness. Sometimes, we may have to call for other Christians to pray for us, especially the elders and leaders in the church. 

It is interesting to note that anointing with oil is prescribed in James 5:14-16 and Mark 6:13.  There are two reasons for this.  Firstly, oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.  Hence, we are to understand that all healing is effected through the Spirit of God.  Secondly, the anointing oil used in Bible times invariably included aromatic or essential oils (e.g. frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, peppermint, etc.).  These are known to have powerful anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-neuralgic (i.e. pain-relieving) properties.  Besides the pleasant aroma brings relief to the person suffering distress from the illness.  Aromatic oils are therefore excellent symbols of the workings of the Holy Spirit.

Sickness is like poverty. We can never totally eradicate it in this age.  We can thank God that in the age to come, there will be no more sickness (Revelation 21:4).

Biblical Jewish Diet and Lifestyle

Let us look at how a god-fearing Jew eats and lives, in contrast with the typical American:

Typical American Diet & Lifestyle

Biblical Jewish Diet & Lifestyle

Excessive amounts of refined flour.

Organic wholemeal flour (often freshly milled); whole grains; legumes, & lentils.

Excessive amounts of refined sugar as sweeteners.

Raw honey, dried fruits & juices in moderation as sweeteners.

Refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and other cold-pressed seed oils.

Refined table salt.

Unrefined sea salt.

Filtered & heated vinegar.

Raw, organic, unfiltered vinegar

High frequency of deep-fried foods.

Foods are usually boiled, steamed, baked, broiled or roasted.

Margarine, vegetable shortening.

Butter, curds, yogurt, raw cream

Pasteurized, homogenized milk.

Mainly raw milk but occasionally boiled goat’s milk.

Pork, shrimp, shellfish, etc.

Only clean animal flesh and fish with scales & fins, cover fat removed and blood drained out.

Over-consumption of meat from commercially raised cows, sheep & poultry.

Meat from grass-fed cows, sheep, goats, clean game animals and grain-fed poultry.  All raised without hormones, antibiotics and chemical contaminants.

Commercially-grown fruits & vegetables laden with pesticides, fungicides & herbicides

Organically-grown fruits & vegetables free from chemical contaminants.

Refined salt &sugar, commercial salad dressings, chilli & tomato sauce for flavoring.

Raw honey, sea salt, raw vinegar, wine, fresh & dried herbs & spices for flavoring.

Excessive consumption of caffeinated sodas & beverages.

Mostly water, occasionally flavored with fruit juices, vinegar and wine.

No fasting regime

Fasts regularly

Keeps late nights watching TV, surfing Internet, etc.

Sleeps early and rises early.

Sedentary home-bound lifestyle.Physically active, outdoor lifestyle.

There are surely many differences each of which contributes to either poor or good health.

Is it possible to eat the biblical way today? Yes, there are many parts of the world where grass-fed, free-range animals are still being raised, e.g. in Australia and New Zealand. Just as organic fruits and vegetables can be grown at home, smaller animals can be reared for clean sources of food. Recently, there was an article in the local newspapers about a famous architect who raises chickens in his home (even in land-scarce Singapore!) so that he can eat free-range eggs. With a little more land, we can raise not only poultry, but sheep, goats and freshwater fish in our homes. The organic vegetable farm where we buy our vegetables from rears chickens and ducks the natural way for a good source of healthy meat and eggs.

Many islanders have been relying on fish as the primary source of protein, EFAs and fat-soluble vitamins for centuries, without experiencing the degenerative diseases of modern man. Clean oceans and seas can still be found in many parts of the world. 70% of the earth's surface is covered with water. Should we forego such an abundant food source, which is freely given by God, in favor of raw veganism?

False Science

In 1 Timothy 6:20 (KJV), Paul wrote, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called."

False science is prevalent in the discipline of nutrition today. For example, PORAVEBN make no less than 10 significant dietary and lifestyle changes and then theorize that animal foods and cooked foods are major contributors to poor health. That is simply unscientific. The scientific method requires that only one variable be changed at a time, with all other variables held constant in a control group, and the results of each change carefully observed over a period of time. Also, for nutritional research to be of value, many human subjects have to be studied, to weed out individual peculiarities.

Many nutritional findings are based on the principle of association. For example, if it can be proven that people who eat more meat have a higher rate of heart disease, then it may be deduced that meat is harmful. However, there is a fallacy with such reasoning. First of all, what meat are we talking about? Is it the clean free-range, organic meat sanctioned in the Bible, with the cover fat removed and blood drained off? There is good meat and there is bad meat, just as there are organic fruits and vegetables and non-organic ones. Secondly, did the researcher consider other factors such as the tendency for people who consume more meat to also consume more refined, processed and devitalized foods as a result of growing affluence and the commercialization of the food industry brought about by modernization? In short, it is very difficult to keep all other variables constant.

The only other time the word "science" was used in the KJV Bible is in Daniel Ch. 1. Daniel was trained in science and was a very intelligent man. Even he was not persuaded to be a vegetarian all his life. He could not for to do so would violate God's commandments to keep the appointed feasts, an offence punishable by death. He also knew that eating some animal foods was essential for his health.

Conclusion

God gave His people many detailed instructions, through His servant Moses, dealing with washings, sanitation, quarantine, diet, circumcision and treatment of certain ailments. Yet He did not once say that raw veganism is the key to good health.

For Christians who may be thinking of converting to raw veganism in the hope of restoring health and healing to their sick bodies, my advice is that they start INSTEAD by first reading a number of books written by both secular and Christian authors on the topic (recommended list of Christian books given above). For secular authors, I recommend books by Robert Crayhon (Nutrition Made Simple) and Patrick Holford (The Optimum Nutrition Bible) as starters.

I have done a quick survey of some of the books written by the world's highly-regarded nutritionists, naturopaths and holistic doctors (Dr. Barry Sears, Dr. Elson Haas, Patrick Holford, Ann Louise Gittleman, Dr. James & Phyllis Balch, Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Michael Murray, Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, Robert Crayhon, Dr. Emmanuel Cheraskin, Dr. Weston Price, Dr. Linus Pauling (2-time Noble Prize winner), Dr. Bernard Jensen, Dr Shari Lieberman, Dr. Mary Enig, Dr Stephen Byrnes, including all of the Christian authors mentioned earlier). Not one of them advocate raw veganism as the healthiest way to eat. I have found that these natural health gurus usually fall into either of two camps: one typically advocates a low-animal content, low-fat, low-protein and high-carbohydrate diet (the latter contributing as much 70% of total calories). The other advocates a more balanced 40/30/30 ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats with a more liberal allowance of animal foods. But none of them condemn the eating of animal foods. Even the respected Vegetarian Society of UK includes dairy and eggs in its Food Pyramid and recommends cooked beans, lentils and grains!

So, make it a point to be better informed by reading widely. Study the Bible for yourself. Know the truth and it shall set you free. Do not be like people who are destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). In my opinion, the healthiest way to eat, is Jesus' way, i.e. the Biblical Jewish kosher diet, modified by conditions of food availability, age, gender, level of physical activity and ancestral traditions.

May God bless you with good health!

James P T Ong
Singapore

APPENDIX

Unless otherwise stated, all Scriptural quotations are taken from the New King James Version.

Exodus 15:26

“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

Exodus 23:25-26

“So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.”

Deuteronomy 7:12-15

“Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. “And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. “You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock. “And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you.”

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; “that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

Deuteronomy 32:39

‘Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.

1 Chronicles 7:13-14

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 16:12

And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign.

Psalm 91:9-10, 14-16

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”

Psalm 103:1-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 107:17-21

Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted.  Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Proverbs 4:20-22

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.

Isaiah 53:4-5

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall,             but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Jeremiah 17:14

Heal me, O LorD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

Jeremiah 30:17

For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the Lord, ‘Because they called you an outcast saying: “This is Zion; no one seeks her.” ’

Jeremiah 33:6

Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.

Malachi 4:2

But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.

Matthew 8:16-17

When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.”

Mark 6:13

And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.

Mark 16:15-18

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Luke 4:18-19

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

James 5:14-16

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

3 John 2

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.





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