Law of Health #1
Everyone agrees good nutrition is very important for diabetics. What they do not agree on is what makes up good nutrition for diabetics. We explained this in more detail in the article, “Identify Your Dietary Approach.”
How do we decide “truth” in matters of diet? If you grew up Adventist, your church school and Sabbath school teachers taught you that the Eden diet is “fruits, grains, and nuts.”1 “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:29-30).
God added vegetables after the Fall and permitted meat (“clean” meat, of course) after the Flood. You also learned that when God gave Peter a vision of unclean animals coming down in a sheet and he was told to “kill and eat,” it was symbolic; and it really meant that he was not to withhold the Gospel from the Gentiles. And somewhere in your church school or academy days, you may have heard that, while the Church permits “clean” meat, you will not be alive when Jesus comes and will not be translated [going to heaven without seeing death] at the Second Coming unless you are what we now call dietary vegan. (When I was a child, the term was “strict vegetarian,” meaning you did not consume eggs or dairy products.)
Today the term vegan means you also don’t eat honey or wear silk or leather or fur or play with a pigskin football! At NEWSTART® and the other high-carb low-/no-fat programs, the buzzword is “whole-foods plant-based” (WFPB). And they include honey as a permitted food. This is the reason we refer to these protocols as “dietary vegan” and not just “vegan.”
If you did not grow up Adventist and/or if you went to public school, you may have learned about the paleolithic era of pre-historic humans; and your teachers told you that our ancestors were hunters/gatherers, eating primarily meat and whatever grew wild, long before the time of agriculture and animal husbandry. So they did not eat grains or dairy products. And this is where the popular trend of paleo diets had its basis.
I’m not convinced that grains and legumes were part of the original diet in Eden. There was no death in Eden! But grains, for example wheat and oats, have to die in order to provide food. Legume plants also die in the field when farmers harvest their seeds (beans, peas, etc.). I could believe that Adam and Eve could have eaten above-ground vegetables, like beet greens and turnip greens, in the Garden, leaving the beetroot and turnip itself to remain in the ground as a live plant. Genesis 1:30 says that the birds and animals and “creeping things” had “every green plant” for food.
Until recently, I considered this concept of “no grains in Eden” to be just my brain’s opinion. So I put this question to our Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics™ Facebook group: “Where can you find proof in the Bible that the ’Eden Diet‘ meant ’fruits, grains, and nuts‘? Genesis describes food as being whatever grows on trees, a.k.a. fruits and nuts. Where did grains come in?”
One astute member was quick to provide an answer. Justin referenced Genesis 2:5, NLT (New Living Translation) which reads (verses 4 and 5): “This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil.” I compared the same verses with KJV (King James Version): “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth [pre-Flood], and there was not a man to till the ground [pre-Fall].” (Italics mine.)
This means grains and legumes and vegetables (that grow under the ground) were already “in the earth” but were not “growing on the earth.” That’s a lot like what the psalmist said (Psalm 139:15-16): “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
But regardless of what humans’ original diet may have been, we are living in the 21st century and not in Eden or the paleolithic era! We are also not living in the lifetime of Ellen White. While I believe that Mrs. White expressed many timeless principles, I also believe she gave very specific advice to specific people in specific circumstances, which may or may not apply to everyone—or anyone—else. So far, I have not yet found that she gave specific advice for diabetics. And I’m reasonably certain that, when Scripture and Ellen White both refer to “good bread” and the “Bread of Life,” they are not referring to today’s GMO crops of wheat and soy! Whether it is “God’s original plan for man’s diet” or the pre-historic humans’ diet, there was no diabetes back then. The food was whole foods, unprocessed, and did not come in a box, bag, jar, or can.2
Our “present truth” scientifically supports the intermittent fasting/no snacking protocols recommended by Ellen White over 100 years ago. Dr. Jason Fung says, “The problem is that increased snacking increases the risk of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance requires 2 things—high levels and persistent levels. High levels of insulin are provided by the refined carbohydrates found in snacks. Persistent levels are provided by the increased eating opportunities.”3
An NIH study4 reveals, “Our results suggest that in relatively healthy adults, eating less frequently, no snacking, consuming breakfast, and eating the largest meal in the morning may be effective methods for preventing long-term weight gain. Eating breakfast and lunch 5-6 hours apart and making the overnight fast last 18-19 hours may be a useful practical strategy.”
In a recent blog by Tim Rice, he writes, “Understand that eating heightens the glucose level in your blood, triggering the release of insulin. Insulin is the main trigger for fat storage. The insulin does its job and returns to a basal level after some time has passed. If you are constantly eating, and thus constantly spiking your glycogen levels, your body never has time to return your insulin to its basal level. Over time, this constant daily influx of insulin can cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance over time can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes.”5
Finally, the best nutritional approach for any diabetic is one that they will stick to, one that is sustainable over the long term, a way of eating that is not just a diet but a lifestyle.6 And no one can tell you what that is for you. You have to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
1“The Bible and Diet,” Spectrum (June 12, 2010). https://spectrummagazine.org/article/sabbath-school/2010/06/13/bible-and-diet (accessed on 7/24/2020).
2Mandal, Ananya, MD. “History of Diabetes,” News-Medical (June 4, 2019). https://www.news-medical.net/health/History-of-Diabetes.aspx (accessed on 7/12/2020).
3Fung, Dr. Jason. “The Perils of Snacking,” The Fasting Method, n.d. https://thefastingmethod.com/perils-snacking-hormonal-obesity-xiii/ (accessed on 7/24/2020).
4Kahleova, Hana, et. al. “Meal Frequency and Timing Are Associated with Changes in Body Mass Index in Adventist Health Study 2.” J Nutr. 2017 Sep;147(9):1722-1728. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.244749. Epub 2017 Jul 12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28701389 (accessed on 7/24/2020).
5Rice, Tim, L. “To Snack or Not to Snack, That is the Question: Debunking the Meal Frequency Myth,” Unlearn-Rethink (April 22, 2016). https://unlearn-rethink.com/2016/04/22/to-snack-or-not-to-snack/ (accessed on 7/24/2020).
6Garduce, Rachel. “Nutrition Myths Regarding Food and Diet,” All Natural Ideas (July 25, 2016). https://allnaturalideas.com/nutrition-myths-food-diet/ (accessed 7/24/2020). A look at the top food and diet myths.
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