Your Guide to Getting Started on Fit4God

Tired? Sick? Overweight? Find out which common foods could be sabotaging your health.

 

Have you been feeling tired or unmotivated? Are you at the mercy of your cravings? Are you overweight? Do you have tummy troubles, autoimmune disease, allergies, ADD, or sinus problems? Are you concerned about diabetes, heart disease, or cancer? Do you have a hard time doing God’s work because you lack the “get up and go” to do it? If you answered yes to any (or many!) of these questions, then you might be ready to make a change…a change that brings your habits in line with God’s Divine Design for your body. A change that makes you Fit 4 God!
Psalm 139:13 tells us that God knit us together in our mother’s wombs. He designed all the “delicate, inner parts” of our bodies. His perfect, complex design included a stomach, a pancreas, and a liver. He designed food for us to use as fuel. He gave us beef, fish and poultry for cell and muscle repair; fat for cell membranes and hormones; and vegetables and fruits for energy and structural repair.

 
You wouldn’t think of gassing up your car with corn oil and expecting it to run like a dream down Route 66. You wouldn’t consider plugging your computer into a tree and expecting it to provide high speed internet access. Nor should you even think about eating a Pop Tart for breakfast, a bagel and chips for lunch, a fat-free candy bar for a snack, and pasta for dinner. You won’t run any better on that than your car will on corn oil or your computer will on wood.

 
God’s heart breaks on His throne in Heaven when he sees us overweight, sick, struggling with cravings, winded climbing the stairs at church, too tired to play with our kids or grandkids, too worn out to go on mission. God designed us to have a spirit “of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy, 1:7). He wants that for our bodies, too. He has plans to “prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah, 29:11). He created us to be strong, powerful, in control, and fit and ready for any calling He gives us.

 
But we can’t do that when we deviate from God’s Divine Design and fuel our bodies with junk that God never intended for food.

 

The Standard American Diet (SAD) – Pure Poison for Our Bodies

If you’re like most Americans since the 1970s, you’ve been trying hard to live a healthy lifestyle by eating low-fat foods, whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, and little or no red meat. You’ve also been thinking you ought to buy a health club membership so you can do cardio for 30-60 minutes 3 to 5 days a week. And again, if you’re like most Americans, you are finding yourself with more pounds and more health issues as each year goes by…and feeling like a failure for being that way. “If only I had more discipline!” you think to yourself.

 
The SAD diet pushed on us for the last 30 years is approximately 15% protein, 55% carbohydrate, and 30% fat. We are told that this diet will help us lose weight and avoid heart disease. We assume that the science bears this out. We assume that people have always eaten this way. But both of those assumptions are wrong. Dead wrong. And they are costing us our health.

 

 

There was a time not too long ago when ….

• People did not get most of their food from boxes and bags

• People did not eat 70+ pounds of grain and sugar per year

• Genetically modified foods such as corn and soy were not present in almost all foods

• People were naturally lean and fit

• People did not succumb to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer at astonishing rates

 

 

Our modern lifestyle is bad for our health. Consider this:

• Half of Americans are overweight. One third are obese. Walk into any public space, even a church, and you will see more overweight people than healthy people.

• In the 30 years since the low-fat movement started, childhood obesity has more than tripled. Today, 20% of children are obese, compared to only 6.5% 30 years ago.

• 1 in 3 Americans born in 2010 will develop diabetes.

• 1 in 4 Americans will die of heart disease. Heart disease rates will double in the next 50 years.

• 1 in 2 Americans over age 65 are obese and have diabetes.

• 9 in 10 Americans will develop high blood pressure.

• Rates of infertility will double in the next decade.

 

 

Where did we go wrong?

There was a time when people ate natural food that came from the Earth – a variety of plants and animals that they gathered or killed themselves, then cleaned and prepared for the table. Food didn’t come from a lab, a food production facility, a bag or a box. They ate the fish they caught, the chicken or cow they killed, the eggs they gathered, and the vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts that they either found or grew. They ate “real” food, and this food met their nutritional needs according to God’s Divine Design. Quite a few societies today, insulated as they are from Western influence, still eat this way, including the !Kung, the Masai, some Eskimos, and the Kitava.

 
The Agricultural Revolution brought about dramatic changes in human dietaries, as we switched from getting the bulk of our daily nutrition from animal protein and vegetables to subsisting primarily on grains such as wheat, oats and barley. As grains became the staple food source, people began to develop new health problems. We became shorter, our once roomy mouths grew too small for our teeth, and new vitamin deficiency diseases such as beriberi and pellagra developed.

 
The Industrial Revolution, which spanned the decades of the 1800s, brought about tremendous changes in industry, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and technology. Populations and standards of living soared. Novel processed foods like refined grains, refined sugar, and refined vegetable oils became readily available at markets, and became staples of people’s diets. While sugar consumption in the late 1800s was about 5 pounds per year per person, by the 1980s it had risen to 75 pounds per year. Today, 72% of Americans’ daily calories come from dairy, cereals, refined sugars, refined vegetable oils, and alcohol, although these foods have been available to humans for consumption in large quantities for only the last 200 years.

 
Modern-day hunter-gatherers and other populations that are insulated from modern industrial foods still eat “real” food – food God made and intended for food. They exhibit astonishingly superior health markers (blood pressure, insulin, leptin, waist circumference, maximum oxygen consumption), body composition, and physical fitness compared to industrialized populations. They do not exhibit obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, acne, or myopia.

 
Furthermore, historical records of explorers, adventurers, and frontiersmen invariably described the traditional populations they encountered as lean, fit, healthy, and free of the chronic diseases that plague our mature and aging adults in western societies.

 
But as soon as these cultures are exposed to modern foods such as refined grains, sugar, and industrial oils, they develop modern diseases at astonishing rates. In addition to anthropological evidence that industrial foods are detrimental to health, modern medical research clearly implicates three agents of disease that contribute substantially to our modern health crisis. They are:

 

Cereal grains

Sugar

Industrial vegetable and seed oils

 
If you do nothing else, eliminating these three offenders from your diet will produce marked changes in your health.

 

 

Cereal grains – “The unhealthiest health food on the planet”

According to Chris Kresser, a well-respected authority on eating naturally, “The major cereal grains – wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye and millet – have become the staple crops of the modern human diet. They’ve also become the ‘poster children’ of the low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet promoted by organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA).”

 

If you say the phrase “whole grains” to most people, the first word that probably comes to their mind is ‘healthy.’” Plants try to protect themselves from predation just like animals do. But since they don’t have claws or fast legs, they rely on toxins to prevent themselves from being eaten.

 

These toxins cause damage to predators (including humans) in three ways:

• They damage the lining of the gut

• They bind to nutrients, making them unavailable to the human body

• They inhibit digestion and absorption of essential nutrients

 
One of these toxins, gluten, is the causal agent of Celiac Disease, which affects about 1 in 100 people. Gluten intolerance is a factor for 1 in 3 people. Gluten intolerance is related to a myriad of conditions including:

 

• Autoimmune disease (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus)

• Skin disorders (dermatitis, eczema)

• Osteoporosis

• Neurological and psychological disorders (learning disorders, ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum, schizophrenia, depression, seizures, epilepsy, migraines)

• Bowel problems (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, canker sores, leaky gut, chronic diarrhea, gas, bloating, acid reflux, ulcers)
If you know your Bible well, you know that grains seem to be highly regarded by the Biblical writers. Consider though, that today’s grains are very different from the grains of Bible times:

• Grains in Bible times included einkorn, triticum, and ekkum, as well as barley, millet, and rye. These grains contained higher levels of protein and lower levels of toxins than today’s grains. Today’s wheat has been genetically modified to contain very high levels of the toxin gluten because gluten is what gives baked goods a light, chewy texture.

• Our ancestors reduced the toxins in grains by soaking, fermenting, and sprouting.

• Our ancestors consumed whole grains, which kept blood sugar relatively low, instead of today’s refined grains, which spike blood sugar and lead to disease.

• Our ancestors did not have access to an endless supply of grains baked with sugars and industrial oils that lend themselves to overconsumption (think pretzels, bagels, crackers, cereal, pizza, pasta, cake, cookies, pastries).

A healthy choice? Not on your life.

 

 

Sugar – A Uniquely Devastating Toxin

Want to show your loved ones how much you care? Then DON’T bake them a cake with sugar on their next birthday! We have a list of 52 ways in which sugar damages the body, and one sugar researcher’s list has reached 141 ways!
Here’s a Top 5 list, for the sake of brevity.

 

• Sugar makes you fat. Sugar decreases the body’s production of the hormone leptin, which regulates appetite. Less leptin means more hunger. More hunger means more eating. More eating means weight gain and eventually obesity.

• Sugar is addictive. Studies show that sugar is just as addictive as illegal drugs in some people.

• Sugar fuels cancer. Cancer cells’ preferred fuel is sugar.

• Sugar damages and kills cells via oxidative stress.

• Sugar leads to the diseases of civilization via fatty liver. A diet high in sugar puts undue stress on the liver, leading to fatty liver. Fatty liver leads to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Don’t give the sugar-laced cupcakes to your friends and family. Throw them in the trash where they belong.

 

 

Industrial Oils – An Ill-Informed Experiment Gone Wrong

Industrial oils (corn, cottonseed, soybean, safflower, sunflower, etc.) are also a relatively new addition to the human diet.

 

In the 1900s, per capita consumption of salad and cooking oils increased 130%, shortening consumption increased 136%, and margarine consumption increased 410%.

 

In addition to this quantitative change in our consumption of industrial oils, there has also been a qualitative change, as the molecular structure of these oils is significantly altered by manufacturing processes that produce unnatural trans fatty acids.

 

The problem with industrial oils is that, besides being ubiquitous in processed foods, they contain an unusually high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies were designed to run on a ratio of 2:1 omega-6 to omega-3. Today, our ratios are somewhere around 20:1. That matters because omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Research shows that inflammation in the body is associated with:

 

• Cardiovascular disease

• Type 2 Diabetes

• Obesity

• Metabolic Syndrome

• Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

• Macular degeneration

• Rheumatoid arthritis

• Asthma

• Cancer

• Psychiatric disorders

• Autoimmune diseases

 
Studies have shown that when we have the right amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in our diets, we are protected from chronic, degenerative diseases. In fact, one study showed that people who replaced corn oil with olive and canola oil (and thereby kept their ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 to 4:1, instead of the usual 20:1) had a 70% decrease in death rate.

 

 

So Why Do Doctors Promote Lowfat, High Carbohydrate Diets?

In the 1950s, a researcher named Ancel Keys did what he called the “Seven Countries Study.” He collected data from these countries on dietary fat consumption and rates of heart disease. His data on these seven countries formed a nice straight line on a line graph that showed a clear relation between consuming high amounts of dietary fat and high incidence of heart disease. His research suggested that the more fat, especially saturated fat, we consumed in our diets, the more clogged our arteries became, and the more heart disease we developed.

 
For this research, he landed on the cover of Time magazine and was lauded as the savior of our heart-disease ridden nation. Billions of dollars have since been poured into furthering his research, which became known as the lipid hypothesis. Sounds good, right? And probably familiar, too, if you’ve talked to a doctor about diet or heart disease lately.

 
There are a few big problems here, though. One is that although the data from the seven countries published by Keys did show a connection between dietary fat and heart disease, Keys conveniently left out the data from the other 13 countries he studied. If he had included that data, there would have been no connection between dietary fat and heart disease, because a number of countries (such as Norway and Holland) had high levels of dietary fat, but little heart disease, while a number of other countries (such as Chile and Australia) had low fat but a lot of heart disease.

 
The second big problem stems from those billions of dollars that have been poured into confirming the lipid hypothesis. Despite large, random, controlled, and blinded studies—studies that were well-designed and rigorous by most standards – no one has produced convincing evidence in the past 60 years that the lipid hypothesis is true.
But Keys’ lipid hypothesis was accepted immediately, despite scanty evidence to support it, and in 1968, the United States Senate appointed Senator George McGovern to chair the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. McGovern’s committee subsequently created the very first food pyramid, based on Keys’ lipid hypothesis, which recommended a lowfat, high carbohydrate diet for everyone.

 
The recommendations were widely accepted by doctors and nutritionists, the food industry developed and heavily marketed thousands of new lowfat foods, and the American people fell in line. At the time, only a few voiced their opinion that it was irresponsible to perpetrate what was tantamount to a wide-scale dietary experiment on the American people without knowing what the consequences would be.

 
History would bear out the facts that within a few years of McGovern’s recommendations and the wholesale buy-in of the American people, that obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer rates would skyrocket.

 

 

Fact: Our Bodies Run Best on the Hunter-Gatherer Diet God Created for Us

A hunter-gatherer diet is one based on beef, fish, some poultry, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits. It excludes the modern agents of disease, including cereal grains, sugar, and industrial oils.

 
Protein is typically moderate (about 15% of daily calories), fat is relatively high (about 55% of daily calories) and carbohydrates are relatively low (30% or less of daily calories), although a fairly wide range of macronutrient ratios can be healthful, depending on the individual.

 
This type of diet keeps our blood sugar low and steady, avoiding the nasty side effects of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome that lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

 
People on hunter-gatherer diets uniformly experience reduced appetite, increased satiety, feelings of well-being, and steady energy levels throughout the day. They also find it easy to lose and maintain weight.

 

 

What Does it Mean to Eat as God Designed Us to Eat?

Being Fit 4 God and fueling your body how God intended is easy! It’s a delicious and satisfying way to eat that maximizes health and minimizes disease. In general, the rule of thumb is this: Eat “real” food that is as close to how God created it as you can! Getting rid of anything packaged, processes, and boxed will go a long way toward your goal.

 

God has plans to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future. He wants us to be healthy and strong so that we can do everything He calls us to do so we can be a light to the world!

 

 

Here is the basic Fit4God eating plan:

1. Cereal Grains. Eliminate or dramatically reduce your consumption of cereal grains. Instead of cereal for breakfast, have eggs. Instead of a sandwich for lunch, have dinner leftovers or a salad. Instead of pretzels, have pumpkin seeds. Instead of pasta for dinner, have meat and vegetables. Remember, cereal grains spike your blood sugar, lead to disease, and prevent your body from absorbing nutrients. Grains have been genetically modified from God’s original design to contain more of the toxins that harm us. They are also far more available to us in today’s grocery stores than they were for our ancestors.

 
2. Sugar. Eliminate or dramatically reduce sugar (including fruit juices, sports drinks, sodas, honey, maple syrup). Remember, sugar increases your appetite, and is a causal factor in cancer and heart disease.

 
3. Industrial Oils. Eliminate industrial oils like corn, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oils, as well as margarine and trans fats. These oils are pro-inflammatory and lead to disease. Start eating good fats such as saturated fat from animals (go ahead and eat 80% lean beef instead of 97%) and fatty fish. Cook your vegetables and meats with olive oil, coconut oil, and butter. Cooking vegetables in fat actually makes their nutrients much more bioavailable than eating them raw or without fat. Fat is good! It keeps you full, and your body can burn it for energy. It is not true that saturated fat leads to heart disease.

 
4. Fatty Acids. Adjust your ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids from a ratio of 20:1 to 2:1. Eliminating industrial oils will go a long way toward achieving this goal. Pastured (grass fed) dairy and grass fed beef or bison has a more optimal 6:3 ratio and more vitamins. A gram or two of fish oil (1-2 g DHA/EPA) daily will help if you do eat grain-fed beef or no fish.

 
5. Protein. Get plenty of protein. Favor ruminants like beef, lamb and bison for your meat. Eat pastured omega-3 eggs and some fish. Poultry is okay. Choose grass-fed or grass-finished beef over conventionally raised beef. Favor pastured poultry over conventionally raised.

 
6. Vegetables. Eat as many vegetables as you want! Be careful with potatoes or other starchy vegetables if you are trying to lose weight.

 
7. Fruits. Eat some fruits, but in moderation, as they are high in sugar and can spike blood sugar and cravings in some people. Remember that today’s fruits have been genetically modified to contain much higher sugar content than God’s original design. Limit if you are trying to lose weight.

 
8. Nuts and Seeds. Enjoy nuts and seeds as a source of good fats and nutrients. Keep your intake moderate to avoid too many calories or too much phytate.

 
9. Dairy. If you can tolerate dairy, use full-fat pastured dairy products such as whole or 2% milk, full-fat cottage cheese, full-fat hard cheeses, and heavy whipping cream. Some people will not be able to tolerate dairy and will have to eliminate it. They will either get congested from the milk protein, or get tummy troubles from the lactose.

 
10. Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D. Get daily midday sun or use a Vitamin D supplement.

 
11. Exercise. Emphasize body weight resistance exercises, walking, and sprints. Don’t do extended cardio sessions. Your body perceives extensive cardio as stress.

 
12. Legumes. Eliminate or dramatically reduce consumption of legumes, which contain anti-nutrients.

 
13. Sleep.  Get plenty of good quality sleep.

 
14.  Supplement Wisely. Get most of your vitamins and minerals from food, but supplement with certain nutrients that are difficult to get from food.

 
15. Play and De-Stress. Get plenty of play time and reduce your stress! It’s better for your body, your mind, and your waistline!

 

 

References

Atkins, R. C. (2002). Dr. Atkins’ new diet revolution. New York: Harper Collins.

Carrera-Bastos, P., Fontes-Villalba, M., O’Keefe, J. H., Lindeberg, S., Cordain, L. 2011. The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization. Research Reports in Clinical Cardiology. 2011:2, pp. 15-35. Centers for Disease Control. (2011).

Healthy Youth! Childhood Obesity. http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/

Cordain, L. (1999). Cereal grains: humanity’s double-edged sword. The Paleo Diet. Retrieved November 5, 2010 from www.thepaleodiet.com/articles/Cereal%20article.pdf. Cordain L. (2002). The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. Journal of American Nutraceutical Association; 5:15-24.

Cordain L, Eaton SB, Brand Miller J, Mann N, Hill K.(2002). The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: Meat based, yet non-atherogenic. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 56 (suppl 1):S42-S52.

Cordain. L, Eades, M. R., Eades, M. D. (2003). Hyperinsulinemic disease of civilization: more than just Syndrome X. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 136, 95-112. retrieved November 12, 2010 from www.thepaleodiet.com/articles/Hyperinsulinemic%20Diseases%20Final.pdf.

Cordain. L., Easton, S. B., Sebastian, A., Mann, N., Lindeberg, S., Watkins, B. A., O’Keefe, J. H. O., Brand-Miller, J. (2005).Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 81, 341-54.

Harris, K. G. (2009). PaNu: get started. PaNu. Retrieved October 1, 2010 from http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/. Sisson, M. (2009). The Primal Blueprint. Primal Nutrition Inc. Malibu, CA.

Taubes, G. (2001). Good calories, bad calories. New York: Anchor Books. Taubes, G. (2002). What if it’s all been a big fat lie? The New York Times, July 7, 2002.

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