We Are What We Eat—What You Can Do
With this installment, we conclude our series on nutrition.

In the near future, sickness will become a thing of the past.

But how?

Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages, “The combined force of right education about true health, and healing of all sickness, when it is repented of, will mean perfect, utopian health.” Did you catch that? 1) Right education, 2) repentance and 3) healing! We will be the ones educating. The people will have to repent, or change, based on what we teach them. God will heal.

We have been called out now to learn how to live this way. The solution to the world’s problems has a lot to do with what we do now. We don’t have much time to learn the lessons of physical health because soon we’ll have spiritual bodies!

In the last installment of this series on nutrition, we examined the horrific Western diet and its effect on health. Subsisting on meals of processed, denatured foods results in illness and disease. Of course, solving the societal problem starts on the individual and family level, yet correcting poor health habits can be one of the most difficult tasks to undertake, and we can tend to get discouraged. How do we achieve health in this sickness-inducing society? The key is to take steps in the right direction. Here are some steps you might consider:

1. Take Responsibility in Your Family: Raising Standards in Physical Health and Fitness Is the Job of Both Husbands and Wives.

The husband is the head of the home (Ephesians 5:23) and must take the lead in setting the right example in health and diet. In many cases, the wife is all for improving the quality of family meals, but her husband won’t stand for it. He likes his meals heavy with meats and carbohydrates. How unordinary the right kind of male leadership is, except in God’s Church. At Herbert W. Armstrong College, some of the young men, to their credit, have asked if they could take the college nutrition course.

For the whole family to benefit from good health and nutrition, the husband and wife must work together in this.

God intended for the wife to be keeper of the home—and certainly a lot goes into that, not the least of which is looking after her family’s health. There are probably quite a few husbands who wish their wives would look after the family’s health better. Some wives are not pouring their hearts into making their families healthier.

Consider the Proverbs 31 woman: “She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar” (verse 14). She’s not bringing it in from afar because it’s unhealthy and of poor quality.

Wives must be willing to invest their time in studying more about foods and how they affect the human body. Then they should set aside enough time to prepare healthy meals.

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens” (verse 15). She rises early to make breakfast for the family—before the children head off to school and before her husband leaves for work.

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness” (verse 27). Homemaking takes a lot of time, yet in the process of trying to save time, women often sacrifice the nutritional value of meals.

Mr. Armstrong wrote in the April 1971 Tomorrow’s World, “Another reason our bodies are being robbed of the alkaline minerals is the way our women cook. Ask a woman why she does not feed her children steel-cut oats and natural brown rice. ‘Oh, that takes too much time!’ she will probably answer. So she uses the quick-cooking minute oats or minute rice—the kind that has been robbed of all the real food value and reduced to a starch. She just can’t afford to take time to give her children good health. She must hurry—and build up in their bodies anemia, and diseases that will KILL them before their time.

“A murder is merely ending a life before its time. Many of you are doing that on the installment plan—doing it not only to yourselves, but also to your children.”

2. Learn to Appreciate Whole Foods for Their Natural God-Given Flavor, and Gradually Get Away From Dressings, Sauces and Condiments.

Here’s a basic rule to remember: Eat those natural foods that will spoil—and eat them before they do.

Notice what Mr. Armstrong wrote in the same article mentioned above: “There is another area in which our English-speaking peoples ruin their own health. They take a good steak, or a mixed green salad of uncooked leafy green vegetables, or other fruits or vegetables, and then ruin them with sauces, gravies, or dressings that will wreck any stomach—at least in time! People think they must mix foods into conglomerations of meat with starch, sugars, condiments, artificial flavors, preservatives, sea-‘foods,’ and unhealthful mixtures—in confusion! The ‘best’ chefs are those who can concoct the most injurious sauces and conglomerations. And then the people of this degenerate world suppose it is just natural to be sick!”

When the Israelites came out of Egypt, they lusted after fish, leeks, cucumbers, melons, garlic and onions (Numbers 11:4-5). As bad as their problem with lust was, at least they lusted for whole foods!

A little bit of sea salt and a little bit of butter (or a lot if you like) ought to do with most cooked vegetables.

3. Shop for Healthy Substitutes.

Here is a simple step to improving your diet, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Sea salt is alkalizing; the table salt most people buy at the store is acidic. It’s the same for raw honey and white sugar. Processed sugar is acidic. Fresh, unsalted butter is neutral, whereas processed butter is slightly acidic. Try switching from peanut butter to almond butter—especially if you have children who eat lots of peanut butter sandwiches. Our kids don’t even notice the difference. Make your own bread or buy “Ezekiel 4:9” bread. Drink more herbal teas and coffees (alkaline) and less coffee and black tea (acidic). Use olive oil for cooking, instead of the cheap stuff. Remember this: Over the long haul, these little things add up!

4. Drink Fresh-Squeezed Lemon Juice Every Morning

In his autobiography, Mr. Armstrong related an experience he had on a trip in 1913. At one point, he was feeling sluggish and discovered that his liver would not readily assimilate eggs, corn or peanuts. Lemon juice was the antidote. In taking it, Mr. Armstrong was also getting a strong dosage of alkaline to begin with every morning. This is a tradition carried on by Gerald Flurry.

5. Snack on Nature’s Candy.

One of the fastest and easiest ways to ruin a balanced meal plan is to snack on junk food. On the flip side, making good snack food choices can be an easy way to correct your system.

Try raw almonds, dates, figs, grapes or maybe a little cheese. Snacking on fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to alkalize our diets. Remember, little things add up over time.

6. Eat out at Restaurants Less. And When You Do, Be More Selective.

If you get a burger or a meat dish, see if you can switch the carbohydrate side with a serving of vegetables. Order salads with the dressing on the side (use sparingly). Strive to completely get away from fast foods except when absolutely necessary. And when you do go fast food, stay away from the french fries.

7. Don’t Lose the Big Picture.

In other words, be balanced. If you intend to splurge, plan around it. For example, by all means have a special dinner with all the fixings—heavy on the meat and sauces, a rich dessert, wine, etc. But, overload on alkalizing, easily digestible foods in the meal or two before and after that heavy meal. Have an all-alkaline flush from time to time—perhaps after returning from a trip.

8. Go on a Cleanse Once a Year.

It was a custom in ancient Babylon to offer bits of the king’s delicacies before the gods, which Daniel and his companions wanted no part of (Daniel 1:8). When it was said the young men would not be healthy if they didn’t partake of these delicacies, Daniel and his friends requested they be given 10 days of a diet of just vegetables and water to disprove the accusation (verses 10-14). Here was a teenager who, because he was familiar with God’s Word, knew that his complexion would actually get better by a cleansing diet (verse 13). Daniel knew a lot about physical health. Verse 15 of Daniel 1 states, “And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.” At the end of the 10-day diet of vegetables and water, Daniel and his friends didn’t die—they didn’t look emaciated and sick. The cleanse actually improved their countenance and overall health.

We may not realize just how often Mr. Armstrong went on cleanses during his ministry.

1941, summer—“I went on an 18-day fast for both physical and spiritual recharging. An unfit man cannot accomplish much. I returned to the new office in Eugene, Aug. 12, 1941, refreshed and renewed, with new vigor” (Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Vol. 2).

1944, August—”… spent two weeks in fasting, as we did nearly every summer, at a cabin on the Oregon coast beach, near Waldport” (ibid).

1945, August—”… two-weeks’ rest and opportunity to catch up on writing, while fasting in a cottage on the beach” (ibid).

1948, July—“This is the 21st day since we first started. I have been on a long orange-juice fast. Aside from two days when we were called back to Pasadena and I ate food, I have not eaten a bite of food during the 21 days. And I expect to remain in this quiet place, fasting and praying, for 10 more days …” (co-worker letter, July 7, 1948).

1958, summer—”… a period of fasting and rest …” (Autobiography, Vol. 2). That period lasted two or three weeks.

1961, November—“Right now Mrs. Armstrong and I are at Palm Springs again. This time I am taking two months (I hope, if no serious emergency cuts it short) for a sustained milk and lemon-juice fast, in an effort to get my entire digestive system readjusted, for a complete physical and mental rejuvenation — and also as a spiritual fast” (co-worker letter, Nov. 13, 1961).

1963, fall—“I decided I must take no more chances—I must stop right where I was, go on a stringent fast, get myself back into top physical condition, so that I may plunge on ahead in God’s Work in high tension once again” (co-worker letter, Nov. 10, 1963). He went on to explain that the fast lasted for two weeks.

1967, February—“During this ordeal I fasted 10 days …. I had been concerned over a heart condition and high blood pressure. I was slowed down in my work. That is now all gone” (co-worker letter, Feb. 27, 1967).

1973, June—“That morning I had come down with the flu and a severe head cold. It was the start of a three-day fast for me. On the plane, I occasionally sipped lemon juice and honey—but took no food” (Autobiography, Vol. 2).

1977, May—“I have started setting the example by five days fasting and prayer, and I am going back to it with my whole heart—I hope for the next five days!” (member letter, May 16, 1977).

9. Desire Good Health.

The most important step toward achieving an invigorating level of health is desiring it. And for some, perhaps especially those who have not experienced poor health, wanting to eat right can be a problem.

Let’s look at a few reasons why we should desire to work toward good health.

To fear God: Remember what Malachi 2 said about Levi, or Mr. Armstrong—he had a living fear of violating God’s law and government.

Mr. Armstrong wrote in the September 1962 Plain Truth, “The point is this: Obeying these seven laws [of health] is the responsibility of each individual. This knowledge is available! There is no excuse for human ignorance. Such knowledge always has been accessible. These laws we, ourselves, either observe and obey — or else we violate them and bring on lowered vitality, depleted energy, befogged and dulled minds, a feeling of ‘dopey’ laziness, and almost countless diseases” (“The Plain Truth About Fasting”). Each of us has an individual responsibility to observe and obey these health laws. Mr. Armstrong’s recognition of that demonstrated his godly fear.

Our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit. Glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

For the Work: In an article titled “What Are the Secrets of My Youthful Vitality, Energy, Drive and Long Life?” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “I doubt if many men of even 50 or 55 could stand up under the rigorous ordeal of constant global travel, writing, radio and tv interviews, public speaking, the responsibility of major decisions in worldwide enterprises, and devoting 14 hours a day to vigorous, driving work” (Worldwide News, Nov. 15, 1982). Mr. Armstrong knew that he could not successfully serve God unless he was in good physical health. If you have your health, you can serve God’s Work more fully.

Mr. Armstrong continued in the same article, “I make it part of my education to study the factors that maintain good health. I learned that we humans are just what we eat. We came out of the ground. We are maintained by food that grows out of the ground. I learned that some famous doctors say that approximately 90 percent of sicknesses and diseases are caused by faulty diet. So I studied, many years ago, to learn about nutrition and diet.”

For Christ, your spouse and your children: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 state, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy [Spirit] which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not, your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Concerning these verses, Mr. Armstrong wrote in The Missing Dimension in Sex: “Look at that carefully! The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The body does not belong to the individual — we are not our own — Christ bought and paid for us! Therefore glorify Godhow? It does not say with ‘your mind’ — but ‘in your body’!”

What a terrible price that was paid! Christ’s body!

Notice 1 Corinthians 7:4: “[A] wife cannot do as she pleases with her body—her husband has power, and in the same way a husband cannot do as he pleases with his body—his wife has power” (Moffatt). We know these verses are referring to the subject of sex primarily—that neither spouse should use sex as a weapon. But there is a larger point here as well—the fact that our bodies belong to our spouses!

Mr. Armstrong thoroughly explained this verse in The Missing Dimension in Sex: “Actually our bodies belong to [God]—but He, here, gives the right and power of the husband’s body over to the wife, and the right and authority over the wife’s body to the husband. Yet the teaching of God—the way of His law—denies selfish taking, and demands considerate giving. …

“God’s law, at all times, is the way of love—which is concern and consideration for the other at least equal with that for the self. Selfishness becomes lust. Love flees when the whole concern is for self” (pages 85-86).

Good health has a lot to do with the kind of quality living we are able to give to our spouses—to our children. On the other hand, if we always feel dopey and lethargic at the end of the workday, what impact will that have on our ability to sacrifice and give for our families—let alone the Work of God?

To set the right example: It’s not that we want to go around being self-righteous health nuts—but we were called to be leaders! People, including our children, need this from us. Your example, good or bad, will have an impact on other people.

‘But It Is Impossible …’

In his “Fasting for Health” article, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The human body functions according to definite laws. It needs fresh air in the lungs—not tobacco smoke. It needs pure water, and plenty of it—not soda pop, stimulants, and man-perverted drinks. It needs a proper amount of joyous, exhilarating exercise, and walking—not riding everywhere in the car, nor taking one’s exercise sitting down in the paid admission stands of a baseball park, or a football or basketball game. It needs sufficient sunshine, not the dark, dank congestion of crowded man-built cities. It needs cleanliness and proper elimination—not the almost universal constipation caused by neglect and foodless foods contaminated in man-made ‘food’ factories. It needs relaxation, ample rest and sleep—not the nerve-shattering, excitable pleasure-seeking life—and nightlife—of today’s modern whirl.

“And last, but far from least, it needs wholesome, properly prepared natural food—not the starchy, sugary, greasy mess of contaminated stuff we ignorantly suppose to be food today!” (Good News, October 1954).

That was written before the age of the microwave, before there was a fast-food restaurant and convenience store on every corner. Poor health and bad diets may be more common today than they were during the 1950s—but just because they are ubiquitous doesn’t excuse us. What it does mean is that we have to work that much harder to reach our normal condition physically—which is that of robust, invigorating, radiant good health!

Mr. Armstrong wrote in Mystery of the Ages, “And why not have good health? Why should we be so willing to believe such a perfect state of health and joy is impossible? … There are blessings for observing the laws of health — absolute guarantees good health will result—and that sickness and disease will become, in the third and fourth generations, a thing of the past.”

With men it is impossible; with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). It’s not impossible to have a good diet and good health in this day and age.