Reflections From The Bible And Life

Healthy Diet According To God

What does the bible say about our diet? The Old Testament through Leviticus says a lot about it.

1.) Leviticus 7:26-27 says, “You must not eat any blood whatever, either of bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. Any one of you who eats any blood shall be cut off from your kin.” Leviticus 3:17 says, “It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, in all your settlements: you must not eat any fat or any blood.” Clearly, the Lord instructed us not to eat any blood-filled delicacies like Dinuguan, and fat coming from any creature. In Chile, people eat “blood sausages” or blutwurst, made mostly from blood. In the Philippines majority eat meat soaked in cooked blood, or Dinuguan, as popularly known. Blood is very dangerous to consume because it decomposes quickly and also can easily transmit diseases such as influenza, hepatitis and AIDS. “Blood contains a concentrated amount of disease, wastes, and poisons. Blood found in meat that is insufficiently bled is harmful.

Leviticus 7:22-25 says, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the people of Israel, saying: You shall eat no fat of ox or sheep or goat. The fat of an animal that died or was torn by wild animals may be put to any use, except that you must not eat it. If any one of you eats the fat from an animal of which an offering by fire may be made to the Lord, you who eat it shall be cut off from your kin.

2.) Leviticus 11:13-22 says. “These you shall regard as detestable among the birds. They shall not be eaten; they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the osprey, the buzzard, the kite of any kind; every raven of any kind; the ostrich, the nighthawk, the seagull, the hawk of any kind; the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the water-hen, the desert-owl, the carrion vulture, the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.

All winged insects that walk upon all fours are detestable to you. But among the winged insects that walk on all fours you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, with which to leap on the ground. Of them you may eat: the locust according to its kind, the bald locust according to its kind, the cricket according to its kind, and the grasshopper according to its kind.”

Bats have been a delicacy in some Asian country, and it’s not considered healthy food. The clean birds that God permits are the chicken, duck, and many others that does not fit in the description of winged creatures to avoid, based on the bible. The chicken has a gizzard, which is a filter to remove any pollutants it might eat.

3.) Leviticus 11:9 says ” These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the streams—such you may eat.” Leviticus 11:12 says, “Everything in the waters that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.”

So based on this, fish with scales and fins is the only clean creature we can eat from the bottom of the sea. Why do fins and scales help keep a fish clean? “One of the primary purposes of scales is to provide the fish with a coat of armor plating that protects them from abrasion, predators and parasites” (Are the Food Laws Scientific?). So sea scavengers are out, and that includes shellfish.

4.) Leviticus 11:1-8 says, “From among all the land animals, these are the creatures that you may eat: Any animal that has divided hoofs and is cloven-footed and chews the cud—such you may eat. But among those that chew the cud or have divided hoofs, you shall not eat the following: the camel, for even though it chews the cud, it does not have divided hoofs; it is unclean for you. The rock-badger, for even though it chews the cud, it does not have divided hoofs; it is unclean for you. The hare, for even though it chews the cud, it does not have divided hoofs; it is unclean for you. The pig, for even though it has divided hoofs and is cloven-footed, it does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean for you.”

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says about the food laws, “In general it can be said that the laws protected Israel from bad diet, dangerous vermin, and communicable diseases. Only in recent days have better laws of health been possible with the advance of medicine. These were rule-of-thumb laws that God gave in His wisdom to a people who could not know the reason for the provision” (Vol. 2, 1990, p. 569).

What does the cloven hoof have to do with sanitation? “Hooved animals protect feet from abrasion and injury that are gateways for many germs, parasites and diseases to enter the body. Thus the flesh of hooved animals is freer from diseases and parasites because it is protected by a non-living sheath that encases the toe or foot—the point of the animal’s anatomy most likely to come in contact with parasites” (Are the Food Laws Scientific? p. 2).

Why does chewing the cud help sanitation? Dr. Colbert explains, “The two main characteristics identified here are that a clean animal has cloven hooves and chews its cud. A cloven hoof is a divided or split hoof. Animals that chew their cud are known as “ruminants”. A ruminant’s stomach consists of four chambers…These four chambers of the stomach are analogous to a washing machine that has four cycles of washing and rinsing. By having these four chambers, ruminants are able to eliminate bacteria, toxins, parasites, and other vermin that might otherwise end up as part of the animal’s flesh” (p. 13).

Another source adds, “Animals with the ruminant type of digestive process get their nutrition only from plants, which means less disease or parasites. Most unclean animals are scavengers, eating dead and decayed flesh often of other unclean animals” (Are Biblical Laws Scientific?, p. 2).

Yet, there are some animals, such as the horse and rabbit, that are not scavengers, but do not have split hooves. Studies have shown that horse meat often contain viruses and parasites, while rabbits cause tularemia (an infectious disease) in humans.

Dr. Russell asks, “What is so good about ‘clean’ meats, and what is so bad about ‘unclean’? The flesh of clean animals such as beef, and fish that have scales and fins, is ideal for the health of humans—just as we would expect from the hand of a loving Creator…Many land animals God designed for food provide an additional benefit in that they generally eat grasses and grains that were also designed for food” (pp. 73-74).

Pork is considered unclean, based on the biblical instructions on land animals. Why is pork prohibited? Dr. Colbert says, “Many people declare today that pork is a safe meat to eat in modern times. Pigs eat enormous amounts of food, and this dilutes the hydrochloric acid in a pig’s stomach. This in turn allows toxins, viruses, parasites, and bacteria to be absorbed into the animal’s flesh. Besides being gluttons, swine are also extremely filthy animals. They will eat garbage, feces, and even decaying flesh. All that is eaten usually becomes part of the pig’s own flesh. Pigs readily harbor parasites including Trichinella, the pork tapeworm, and toxoplasmosis…Swine is to the animal world what the glutton is to humanity. What they consume is to a great extent what we should not consume!” They are no different from sea scavengers.

5.) Leviticus 11:29-31 says, “These small animals are unclean for you: moles, mice, all kinds of great lizards, geckos, crocodiles, lizards, sand reptiles, and chameleons. Whoever touches their dead bodies will be unclean until evening.” Mice live in dirty places and are scavengers. Reptiles are toxic. A study shows that eating these animals can have side effects that call into question the wisdom of eating this ‘delicacy.’

“The clearest microbiological risk comes from the possible presence of pathogenic bacteria, especially Salmonella, and also Shigella, Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterolitica, Campylobacter, Clostridium and Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause illnesses of varying degrees of severity,” Simone Magnino, lead author of the study and a researcher for the World Health Organization (WHO), said.

So, to sum it all up, we are told not to eat fat, reptiles, rodents, scavengers, sea scavengers, swine, anything in the bodies of water that doesn’t have fins and scales, land animals that don’t have divided hoofs and are not cloven-footed and don’t chew the cud, blood, birds of prey, and scavengers with wings.

What does that leave us with? Green leafy veggies, fruits, fish, and selected winged creatures like chicken, turkey, ostrich, and others. I think the Lord’s instructions make a lot of sense, and it keeps us healthy.

Read Leviticus 11 to know more about God’s instructions.

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