Put God’s Design to the Test!

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” – Psalm 33:11 (NIV)

In America, we believe that we can make everything better. In fact, we relentlessly pursue improvement. And this can often be a good thing! It can make us examine our hearts and actions and get right with God and others. It can bring new advances in medicine, travel, industry and the environment. It can even help us discover and understand God in new and deeper ways.

But many times our efforts to improve on God’s design give us a far inferior result. In his book, What the Bible Says about Healthy Living, Dr. Rex Russell encourages us to “as much as possible, eat foods as they were created.” God’s design is not always convenient, but it is always best.

Many companies are introducing genetically engineered and “functional foods” that claim to be superior to their natural counterparts. The primary driver is not to benefit your health—it is purely economic. These new foods are created to “enhance processing and fresh market value.”

Unfortunately, the more we process foods the less nutritional value they deliver. Our bodies don’t know how to process these altered foods. We strip vitamins and minerals out of food, put them back in and then call them “enriched.”

One of the most common examples of this can be found when we look at whole grains versus their refined alternatives. When wheat flour is processed and bleached into white flour, 40 percent of the original wheat grain is removed. This includes the bran and germ of the wheat grain, which contains virtually all
of the nutrient value of wheat. So, if you are eating white bread, pretzels, noodles and pastas, or baked goods like rolls or biscuits or cookies, over 50 percent of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, iron and fiber is lost.

Here are some tips for making the change back to God’s original design—to good old-fashioned, whole food nutrition:

1. Substitute whole-grain toast for white. In fact, never eat white bread! It’s like eating a candy bar.

2. Eat whole-grain or wild rice instead of white.

3. Use old-fashioned rolled oats instead of the highly processed oatmeal in a packet.

4. Make pancakes with whole-grain flour or buckwheat instead of white flour.

5. Look for 100-percent whole-grain breads that are unbleached and unbromated. (If it says “bleached,” you can bet that much of the nutritional value is gone.)

6. Use whole-grain pastas and dough for homemade pizzas.

If you select 100-percent whole wheat products, however, the bran and germ of the wheat will remain in your food, and the health benefits will be impressive. The higher levels of fiber slow down the conversion to glucose, giving you more consistent energy and far better absorption of vitamins and minerals. Also, the antioxidant properties of wheat bran are 20 times greater than that of refined wheat flour. Just make sure that these “whole wheat” products are unbleached, unbromated and not enriched.

It seems that the way God designed food really is the best for us! When we eat highly processed foods that are basically devoid of nutritional value, there is a strong link to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and high blood pressure. These foods also are converted to glucose much more quickly, so we don’t have sustained energy over time, and we always feel hungry.

The parts just don’t seem to operate as well when they are separated from the whole—just like we don’t function as well when we are separated from the body of Christ. Each component is dependent on the others.

God’s design is perfect. He not only told us what to eat and what to avoid, He also put every nutrient necessary for great health in these foods. For more information on God’s design for your health visit www.fcahealthandfitness.org

*For more stories about faith and sport, visit www.sharingthevictory.com, the official magazine of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.