Posted by: kathryngraves | April 26, 2017

Temple Food

The Bible is not the first place many of us look to find out how we should eat. But some diet plans are based on principles found in Scripture. Rather than a strict diet plan, I prefer to choose my foods based on principle.

Paul talked about needing to discipline his body in 1 Corinthians 9:27, and he taught that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 6:19. Romans 12:1 tells us to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God. When I put these all together, I can’t help but believe that how I treat my body is important. Daniel knew this when he asked to be given vegetables and fruit with water to drink instead of the rich delicacies of palace cuisine.

The reason behind eating simple, nutritious food and keeping our bodies fit is because it makes us stronger, healthier, and able to go about the business God has called us to. We are of no use when we are too sick to function. Even our emotions are wrapped up in our physical health. Hormonal balance, and the emotional stability that comes with it, is rooted in physical well-being.

There are some diseases we cannot avoid simply by eating right and exercising, but most will stay away if we make an effort in this area.

Do you know what diseases and disorders are caused by inflammation? The simple answer is, most of them. Cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, colitis, diverticulitis. Yes, everything that ends in “-itis” is most likely caused by inflammation.

What are the most common prescriptions for dealing with these diseases? Anti-inflammatory drugs (think NSAIDs) and the little purple capsule. While they work, most are not intended for long-term use. So what is a person to do?

Jack Challem, in his book, The Inflammation Syndrome, asserts that food is the best cure for what ails us. Just like the wrong foods, and too much of them, can make us sick, the right foods, in the right amounts, can help us get better. He does not, nor do I, say that food can cure cancer, but it can ease, or even get rid of, the symptoms of many diseases.

Where to begin? Start with whole foods. Most of you know this is my soap box. Much of the “food” we buy is not food at all. Last weekend, I picked up a bag of onion-flavored snack “chips” to read the label. There was not one ingredient I recognized as a real food! One sure way to avoid fake food is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store where fresh and frozen foods are located. Skip the middle of the store where processed foods lurk. I try to buy foods with no labels. If I buy a package, I aim for only one item on the ingredient list. (Examples are a bottle of olive oil or a jar of diced tomatoes.) Beware frozen vegetables with sauce already in them. Just go for the basic, plain ones.

When I’m ready to cook my produce and meat, I use a lot of herbs and spices to dress them up. These not only make simple foods taste extravagant, but they add nutritional value too.

Breakfast can be eggs cooked with olive oil or a smoothie made from plain Greek yogurt and frozen berries. If you want to make a smoothie without the dairy, substitute pea protein powder.

Lunch for me is usually a salad. Jack Challem calls his lunch salad a rainbow salad because he tries to include something from each color of the rainbow. I took his advice and now I’m hooked. I always include half an avocado and a handful of chopped walnuts because it is the fat that keeps me feeling full all afternoon. My dressing is a little salt, pepper, a flavored balsamic vinegar and olive oil–and I’m generous with the olive oil. If I can’t eat at home, I try to eat where I can get a good salad. In this case, I’ll add chicken since avocado is usually not offered. The extra protein also helps me feel full.

Supper is any combination of cooked veggies and meat, chicken, or fish. There are all kinds of sources for recipes if you like to cook and want to be creative. Clean Eating Magazine is one of my favorites. All their recipes are made from whole foods.

If I do need a snack, my go-to is an apple sprinkled with cinnamon and dipped in fresh almond butter. Not the kind in a jar. The kind your store makes fresh on-site, or that you make at home with a food processor. My organic grocery makes fresh almond butter, so I buy mine rather than make it. A great after-dinner snack is one ounce of at least 70% dark chocolate with hot green tea.

A word about drinks. Water is always best, but a glass of unsweetened iced tea hits the spot for me on warmer days. Green tea should be the choice for hot drinks, but some coffee is okay.

You may have noticed there are no grains in my meal plans. That’s because I am sensitive to them. Some rice or quinoa is fine, but not every day. My favorite food is probably any kind of bread, so this is difficult for me to stick to. I decided that in order to make this plan work for the rest of my life, I needed some leeway. So I do eat grains on occasion.

I also avoid any food that is a substitute for another, such as gluten-free or sugar-free. If the offending ingredient is taken out, something has to be put in its place to make it taste right. Usually the substitute ingredient is something I can’t pronounce or is a combination of things, none of which is nutritious. If I want something sweet, or a fabulous roll, I eat the real thing, just not very often.

What about days (or weeks) when I fail to eat the way I plan? As soon as I can, I start over. I refuse to let any stretch of non-compliance rob me of the ability to return to what I know is best. My goal is really 80/20. If I eat only whole, nutritious food 80 percent of the time, it feels like success. If I can do it all the time for a few weeks, I can get over an unsettled tummy. If I fail completely (especially with grains) for more than a week, I end up taking antacids, and my body pulls me back into a healthy routine again.

My motivation to change my eating patterns was a cancer diagnosis. I hope you don’t wait for a devastating diagnosis to begin your journey with whole food eating.


Photo: Pixabay



  1. This writing is EXCELLENT, Kathy. I will keep it on hand and refer to it often. Thank you so much for writing it.

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