Real Food Reading

Still doing any Christmas shopping? Consider any of these excellent Real Food books for anyone on your list interested in nutrition and health.

Books I recommend with 5-plus stars: 

Nourishing Traditions
My #1 Real Food recommended book.  A cookbook and a textbook in one. The textbook part is invaluable.

Maker’s Diet 
Very helpful, from a Christian’s perspective. As prescribed in the Bible, God gave us meat, dairy, etc… to feed and nourish our bodies. I don’t necessarily agree with avoiding pork, as the New Testament sort of takes that law off the table. But helpful, nonetheless.

Enzyme Nutrition
Americans eat a diet with the Macro-Nutrient profile of that of McDonald’s. This books seeks to remedy that situation with education on enzymes.

Cure Tooth Decay
Seriously, it is possible to heal up cavities. I haven’t experienced it myself.. yet… but I am convinced by the research and evidence that it truly is possible. This book, as many others in the natural healing category go, have premises and world views that are contrary to Scripture. Chew the meat, spit out the bones.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome

I am just beginning this book but I have read through the entire GAPS wesbite and have been persuaded and convinced by the science and common sense that this is what is wrong with the bodies of so many- even many close to me. Campbell-McBride has degrees in both neurology and nutrition, and through years of seeing patients with autism and other brain abnormalities and dysfunctions, has made the connection between gut (intestines, where 80% of your immune system is held) and the mind (and other parts of your body that can dysfunction). We are starting the GAPS diet sometime in the new year to see if we can heal our own intestines from the years of SAD (Standard American Diet) damage!

 Real Food for Mother and Baby
This is an excellent reference book for anyone who is unsure of what to feed a youngster or a woman during pregnancy.

Nina Planck also has written a book before this one that is worth reading called, “Real Food: What to Eat and Why” that is a fantastic jumping off point for someone interested in Real nutrition.

 Eat Fat, Lose Fat

This book gives a overview of why we get fat, what foods contribute and why everyone who recommends low-fat diets to shed the pounds is dead wrong! This is a great book and one I reference so often.

The following books are on my “To Read” list so I have to give that disclaimer. However, they are real food reading and I have high expectations for all of them: 

The Vegetarian Myth
The Whole Soy Story
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
Coconut Oil Miracle
Could it Be B12?
Patient Heal Thyself 

Fruit From the Vine: Would You Be Thankful If…

While taking a shower, I found myself complaining in my heart a little that the water wasn’t quite hot enough. It was almost there but I like the water so hot that it just about burns my skin. I then realized I was being completely fickle because a lot of the world doesn’t have hot water at an immediate turn of a knob like I do. Well, a lot of the world doesn’t even have water pumped by electricity. And a lot of the world doesn’t even have water to bathe in. Let alone, water to drink! So I began to thank God. “Thank you God for the blessing of hot water. For the blessing of water. Period.”

I began to think of something I have been sporadically doing, my thankfulness journal. Another idea that we had for our family was to make a blessing jar where everyone can add a written blessing to the jar throughout the year, reflecting on the blessing we have received from God, and then we read them at year end. These ideas are great and I think they can give you eyes to see the little things around you that are God’s blessings. They are a great remedy to a complaining spirit. However, in our egocentricity, it often stops here! We are so thankful for God’s gifts. But we forget that GOD gave them. HE is the giver and the goal and the end of all our wants.

I am concerned for myself and for many. If I didn’t have any hot water, or didn’t have any water at all for that matter, would I still be thankful? Not for God’s blessings, but for God Himself? If I were visited by trial like Job or had a thorn in my flesh the Lord would not remove, like Paul, would I still be thankful? If there was literally nothing to be thankful for in my life, would I still be thankful? Because there are many who don’t have the things I have to be thankful for… yet they are still able to thank God and are truly thankful. Because they have HIM.

I would love to use scripture to expound here. And I started to. But then I read a few pages from John Piper’s book, “God is the Gospel.” I can’t put things like Piper can. I must add his words here as they hit home for me on this Thanksgiving. In a few paragraphs, you will see how we are to regard the Gospel as the gift of God Himself over and in all His saving and painful gifts (and pleasant gifts, too):

“The gospel has unleashed the omnipotent mercy of God so that thousands of other gifts flow to us from the gospel heart of God. I am thinking of a text like Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” This means that the heart of the gospel—God’s not sparing his own Son—is the guarantee that “all things” will be given to us. All things? What does that mean? It means the same thing that Romans 8:28 means: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God takes “all things” and makes them serve our ultimate good. It doesn’t mean we get everything our imperfect hearts want. It means we get what’s good for us.

Compare this with Philippians 4:19: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Every need! Does that mean we never have hard times? Evidently not. Seven verses earlier Paul said, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger,abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (vv. 12-13).  This is amazing. God meets “every need” (v. 19).

Therefore, I have learned how to face “hunger” and “need” (v. 12). I can do “all things” through him who strengthens me—including be hungry and be in need! I conclude from this that for Christians everything we need—in order to do God’s will and magnify him—will be supplied. 

According to Romans 8:32 this was secured by the gospel. It is stated even more strikingly in Romans 8:35-37. Here the love of Christ guarantees that we will be more than conquerors in every circumstance, including the circumstance of being killed.  “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Astonishing! We are more than conquerors as we are being killed all day long! So nothing can separate us from Christ’s love, not because Christ’s love protects us from harm, but because it protects us from the ultimate harm of unbelief and separation from the love of God.  

The gospel gift of God’s love is better than life. “Neither death nor life …will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39). In fact, not only can death not separate us from the love of God, it is, along with every other hardship, a gospel gift. Listen to the way Paul says it in 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, “Let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” All things are yours—including death! Death is included in our treasure chest of gifts from God through the gospel.

So in one text Paul says that we are “more than conquerors” in death. And in another text he says that all things are ours, including death. I take him to mean that because of the truths of Romans 8:28 and 8:32 God takes every hardship and makes it serve us, including death. Death is “ours”—our servant. The fact that we are “more than conquerors” means that death doesn’t just lie dead at our feet after the battle—it is taken captive and made to serve us.

And how does death serve us? How does the blood-bought servitude of death bless the children of God? Paul answers, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”(Phil. 1:21). Why is dying gain? He answers two verses later: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Being with Christ after death is “far better” than staying on earth. That is why we are more than conquerors when death seems to triumph. It becomes a door to better fellowship with Christ. 

Because of the gospel, God promises to “give us all things” with Christ (Rom. 8:32). The “all things” turns out to include not just pleasant things but terrible things like tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, and death. These are all gospel gifts purchased for us by the blood of Christ. 

Death is a gift because it takes us more quickly to the great good of the gospel—seeing and savoring the glory of God in the face of Christ. What about these other gifts—tribulation, distress, and so on? How are they benefits that are bought by the gospel? How are they part of the “all things” in Romans 8:32 and 28 and Philippians 4:13? The answer is that in the merciful sovereignty of Christ, empowered by his own blood, these sufferings accomplish the greatest good of the gospel, a more pure and authentic and deeply satisfying seeing and savoring of God in Christ. 

…This is not the design of the devil. It is the design of God. Paul’s life-threatening suffering was designed by God to keep him close to God. The aim of the gospel is not an easy life. It is deeper knowledge of God and deeper trust in God. God did not spare his own Son. Therefore all things are yours— “the world or life or death (or thorns in the flesh or life-threatening persecution) all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” These are gospel gifts because by the blood of Christ they help bring about the goal of the gospel. This goal is not our ease or wealth or safety in this age, but our dependence on Christ and our delight in his glory.”

I treasure this. My heart rests here. Not because it is easy to read or believe, but because it is true. And I am full of thanks for this Truth– whose Name is Jesus.

Fruit From the Vine: Benediction

The benediction from Numbers 6 has found its way onto artwork, bookmarks and into the fronts of countless books. It has often been a blessing nicely laid on believers at the end of a church service or a wedding.

It goes like this,

“The LORD (YHVH) bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

It often falls a little flat. Not because God’s Word falls flat, of course. But the way in which we use it feels a little plastic and generic, if not egocentric. As if the whole world revolves around us and our graduation or our church service or our wedding. Of course the LORD does bless, does keep, does shine, does give grace, does give peace. But why? Because we’re great? Because we’re worthy? Obviously not.  Simply for the fact that we’re His children and He wants to bless us like we do our own kids? Maybe. But maybe there’s more.

Ps 67 sheds light.

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us. THAT your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!” (Psalm 67:1-2, 7)

He blesses and keeps us that we may make Him known. Definitely not so that we can keep it to ourselves. Not so that we can put bumper stickers on our car that say, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven!” Not so that we can live these easy, comfortable, self-centered lives, enjoying God’s gifts and pleasures, and even saying “thank you for your gifts, God,” all the while denying the gift-giver by hoarding the gifts to ourselves. He gives us His blessing so that we can bless others… with Him!  So that the lost might be saved. So people in your city, workplace and even your own household might know Him and fear Him. So that people, nations, and tribes to the end of the earth might know His way and that He is a God who saves.

Don’t put your light under a basket or bury your entrusted treasure in the ground where it’s “safe.” Don’t be safe, be generous. Let others know about the God who blesses you. Not for bragging rights, but for the purpose that He might bless them, too. You have His gifts and favor. Now, live and breathe and move to make Him famous!

[photo credit]