ENOCH SPEAKS - The Pastor's Blog

Fit for the Kingdom


Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Matthew 6:25-34

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.



1 Corinthians 6:12-20

12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. 15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 

1 Timothy 4:6-16

6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.




By Bryant Stamford
Gannett News Service


Confronting four powerful health-destroying adversaries - smoking, bad diet, lack of exercise and obesity - is a daunting task, and it has health professionals scratching their heads seeking a workable strategy.

In that regard, I’d like to offer my 2 cents’ worth of advice.

Begin with exercise

My starting point is recognition of the fact that change is difficult at best, and the greater the change attempted, the less likely you are to be successful.

What’s more, when you try to make more than one change at a time, the odds of success are even worse. So start with daily moderate exercise, like walking. The reason: Walking will provide an immediate effect to improve health. Here’s how.

Obesity is associated with diseases linked to the hormone insulin. Pre-diabetes (also called metabolic syndrome) afflicts 25 percent or more of adult Americans and occurs when the body resists the efforts of insulin to escort sugar from the bloodstream into the cells, where it can be burned as fuel.

As a result, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream, causing all sorts of nasty complications.

If this problem progresses unchecked, it ultimately will develop into full-blown type 2 (maturity onset) diabetes.

Taking a walk makes the body more sensitive to the effects of insulin, and this effect occurs before the first pound of body fat is lost.

And if you keep walking every day, the calories you burn will begin to chip away at the excess fat on your body.

Once your walking habit is established, it’s then time to go after your diet.

Tiny steps are called for, and simply cutting out one bad food item, like a soft drink each day, combined with a daily walk will help you drop several pounds of body fat in a year.

The less fat on your body, the less resistant your body will be to insulin. Thus, less body fat and more exercise will help lower your blood sugar to a healthier level.

Smoking hypes metabolism

What about smoking? It’s the most deadly member of this health-destroying quartet.

That’s true, but going after smoking before you get exercise and an improved diet into the mix is not a wise approach.

The reason is that smoking hypes metabolism, causing you to burn lots more calories each day. This helps smokers manage their weight. But when smoking is stopped and this hyped effect is lost, it’s like adding a bunch of additional calories to your daily diet.

What’s more, when smoking stops, folks are very likely to consume more food. All this adds up to a huge and rapid weight gain when people quit smoking.

If, however, you have successfully started a daily exercise routine and have begun to clean up your diet, you will be positioned to cope more successfully with the weight-gain challenge brought on by smoking cessation.

Because gaining weight quickly and in large amounts is one of the primary reasons folks return to smoking (especially women), preventing this from happening greatly shifts the odds of long-term successful cessation in your favor.

The bottom line

We are facing multiple health-destroying foes, and we must select our battles carefully and with an eye toward the future.

A step-by-step approach in which success in one arena inspires taking on the next challenge is in order.

My vote is to wage a campaign to get people walking on a daily basis. This affords an immediate benefit, plus longer-term implications.

Next is a subtle change to a diet that can be tolerated and sustained.

Once these changes are solidified and evidence of success is apparent with the loss of several pounds of body fat, then the stage is set to take on smoking.

Long-term smoking cessation is not likely unless you can prevent, or at least dampen considerably, the tendency to gain weight after quitting.

This overall approach to improving health can be successful if given enough time to operate. Let’s take a stab at it.

In Fight Against Pain, Know Your Over-The-Counter Weapons

By Amy Howell
The Cincinnati Enquirer / Gannett News Service


No pain, no gain. Forget that. When you hurt, you want to know what might make you feel better, safely and effectively.

Over-the-counter oral pain relievers, often referred to by brand name, range from acetaminophen and aspirin to a group of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen and ketoprofen.

“It can be overwhelming to walk into an over-the-counter aisle and try to pick a medication,” says Shauna Buring, a pharmacist and assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati.

Here are a few guidelines from pharmacists and doctors and information from the Mayo Clinic for comparing and choosing over-the-counter pain relief.

To reduce side effects of OTC pain relievers:

- Use the lowest dosage effective, for the least period of time.

- Do not exceed maximum daily dosage.

- Check ingredients for both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, which can contain the same active ingredients and lead to an accidental overdose. Vicodin, for example, includes acetaminophen that should be monitored when taken with Tylenol.

- Understand what’s in your prescription drugs. Generic prescriptions often use acetaminophen’s abbreviation “APAP” on bottles.

- In specialty brand-name medications, look at the active ingredients, strength and dosage to see if it has additional ingredients you don’t need.

- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with food and a full glass of water to decrease gastrointestinal upset, and avoid alcohol, which irritates the lining of the stomach.

Source: Shauna Buring, pharmacist and assistant professor, College of Pharmacy, University of Cincinnati.

Generic or name brand?

Most people will get the same result from a generic or a name brand medication, says Thomas Imhoff, clinical effectiveness and safety officer at Cincinnati’s Good Samaritan Hospital. Those allergic to dyes, gluten or other products often used as filler in medications, should ask their pharmacist or doctor about inactive ingredients, Imhoff recommends.


Know your over-the-counter pain drugs


- Brand name: Tylenol.

- Uses: Reduces headaches, chronic pain such as from arthritis, other common pains and fever.

- Safe for children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women? Yes. Children’s formula available.

- Side effects: Rare, when taken as directed.

- Risks: Might cause liver damage in high doses or accelerate existing damage.

Consult doctor before using if: You use other drugs containing acetaminophen or consume three or more alcoholic drinks per day.


- Brand names: Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin, Ascriptin.

- Uses: Reduces headaches, infections, chronic pain like arthritis, fever, redness and swelling; prevents blood clotting; reduces risk of second heart attack or stroke.

- Safe for children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women? No. Can cause Reye’s syndrome in children with chickenpox, the flu or other viral illnesses.

- Side effects: Gastrointestinal upset, including stomach pain and constipation, heartburn and dizziness.

- Consult your doctor before using if: You have asthma, diabetes or allergies to aspirin or other pain relievers; take blood-thinning medicine or have a bleeding disorder; have liver or kidney disease; or consume three or more alcoholic drinks per day.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Ibuprofen, naproxen

and ketoprofen

- Brand names: For Ibuprofen: Advil, Motrin IB; for naproxen: Aleve; ketoprofen: Orudis KT (available by order through most pharmacies.)

- Uses: Reduce common pains, menstrual pain, fever and inflammation.

What is safe for children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women?

Ibuprofen: Children’s formula available; not safe for pregnant women; safe for short-term pain relief for breastfeeding women.

Naproxen: Not for children under age 12.

Ketoprofen: Not recommended for children. Not safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

- Side effects: Gastrointestinal upset, including stomach pain and constipation; heartburn; and dizziness. Prolonged use may increase risk of cardiovascular events.

- Consult your doctor before using if: You have gastrointestinal problems, diabetes or a bleeding disorder; liver, heart or kidney disease; take blood-thinning medicine, diuretics, medications for arthritis or other over-the-counter pain relievers; or consume three or more alcoholic drinks per day.

- These are general recommendations. The effectiveness and possible side effects will vary according to the health and medical history of each individual. Do not exceed the recommended dosage of any medication, and take as directed.




Both forms of diabetes, childhood and adult, are rare in parts of the world where people's meals are based on starches. This rarity is easy to understand as far as adult-type diabetes is concerned, since the primary cause of that illness is the rich Western diet. Fat inhibits action of the body's insulin, and the lack of fibers allows rapid passage of glucose from the gut into the blood at which point the blood sugar content rises rapidly. Carbohydrates surprisingly stimulate insulin activity, thereby lowering blood sugar levels, and making the diabetic feel better.

For cases of childhood diabetes the explanation is cow's milk consumption. Cow's milk protein fed to young children causes an autoimmune reaction that causes the body to direct antibodies to the child's pancreas.

Many of the complications that occur in both forms of the disease are the consequences of a rich diet burdening a weakened system. A diabetic person cannot defend himself from the harmful American diet or repair the damages it causes as well as can someone who does not have diabetes. Consider how a small infection in a diabetic's toe can soon extend to the point where amputation of the foot or of the leg will be necessary. The various manifestations of atherosclerosis can progress much more rapidly in a diabetic. Even mild variations in blood sugar-control are associated with an increased rate of heart attacks in Americans.

Atherosclerosis is remarkably uncommon in the few cases of diabetes found in counties in Africa and Asia where the diet is largely starch-based. These few diabetics live almost free of heart disease, strokes, and gangrene which are too common among diabetics indulging in the unending American feast.

In Childhood Diabetes: These patients will usually drop their insulin needs by 30%, and their blood sugar levels will be more stable (less "brittle") on a starch-based diet. Most important, their risk of complications is markedly decreased with a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. Insulin adjustments are made as usual, with the aid of urine-sugar, and blood sugar tests, under a doctor's supervision.

In Adult Diabetes: Change in diet will allow 75% of these patients to stop taking all insulin, and more than 95% to stop taking all diabetic pills. (The few who continue to need medication should be treated with small doses of insulin.) Insulin adjustments are made as usual, with the aid of urine-sugar and blood-sugar tests, under a doctor's supervision.

My Recommendations: Never take oral hypoglycemic drugs, because they increase your chances of dying sooner. Change to a low-fat, high-complex carbohydrate diet (starches, vegetables, and about 3 fruits a day). If you're obese, lose weight, for added health and blood sugar-control. You should also be physically active. Exercise, in addition to helping you lose weight, has independent benefits that increase the activity of insulin and improves your diabetic condition.

Childhood-type diabetics will continue to need insulin! If a childhood diabetic stopped all insulin they would likely develop ketoacidosis, slip into a coma and soon die. Insulin in this disease is lifesaving, because these childhood-onset diabetics make little or none of their own.

Adult-type diabetics will need insulin if they suffer from the most obvious symptoms of their disease--such as too much weight loss too soon (you should be so lucky), too much thirst, and too frequent urination. The question of better control, meaning fewer complications, has not been settled. I believe the closer to normal, the blood sugar level is kept the better. But blood sugar levels should not be under such "good" control that the patient runs the increased risk of suffering damaging hypoglycemia from over zealous use of insulin. More specifically, damage to the eyes is more severe and more common when blood sugar levels are too low. Blood sugar levels, if you are taking insulin, should be controlled at 150 mg/dl to 300 mg/dl.

People with diabetes are usually experts at adjusting their own medication and rarely have trouble making necessary changes. I usually stop adult-diabetic's pills the very day they start the Program. Adult diabetics on insulin should cut their dosage at least in half upon starting the Program. They will find themselves lowering (rarely raising) their intake of insulin, depending on what level their blood and/or urine sugars are each day. If your urine sugars were 0 and +1 all day long, a 5 unit drop will probably be suggested by your doctor for tomorrow. If you had a hypoglycemic reaction, then as an adult-type diabetic, you will be told to lower your dosage even more (10 to 20 units) and possibly told by your doctor to stop the insulin altogether. Blood sugar levels can also be used to regulate insulin dosage. You will want to keep your sugar between 150 mg/dl and 350 mg/dl while you are changing your diet these days (higher levels are safer than lower levels.) I have seen adult diabetics come off of more than 75 to 180 units of NPH insulin within 3 days of a change in diet and exercise. Be careful to lower the dosage quickly enough. Have sugar (hard candy) around for all too likely hypoglycemic reactions.

Childhood diabetics should reduce their insulin dosage by 30% when beginning the program, then make further adjustments as indicated by blood sugar or urine sugar readings. As a general posture, it is safer to be undermedicated with a slightly higher blood sugar, than overmedicated with hypoglycemia that causes sweating, confusion and finally coma.

For more details on diabetes see McDougall's Medicine--A Challenging Second Opinion.


Most women don't give cardiovascular disease a second thought.

But the cold hard facts show that they should.

According to research by the American Heart Association, "Diseases of the heart and stroke are women's No. 1 and No. 3 killers."

It's not necessarily that the number of diagnosis are increasing, says Tammy Cornman, director of Summit Health's Community Health and Women's Heart programs.

It's because word is getting out more about the disease.

"Up until a few years ago there wasn't a lot of information about women and heart disease," said Cornman. "It was believed to be more of a man's disease. Men are naturally more concerned as they age about heart related problems, but most women aren't concerned at all."

Cornman said cardiovascular disease amongst women "Has always been there, but it's never really been identified before."

Sharon Strike, corporate events director at AHA, said 1984 was the magic year. "That was the year when there was more death in women than men," she said. "But still, people didn't begin to pay attention like they should."

Cardiovascular disease is a blockage of the heart's blood vessels, said Cornman, and can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

The disease can "Strike women at any time of life, but the risk steadily rises with age," according to AHA research. "For example, the processes that lead to heart attack and stroke start when you're young and develop over time. As a woman grows older, her risk rises."

Age, gender, heredity and race are risk factors that people can't control.

But there's good news, too.

Blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, weight, physical activity and diabetes are also risk factors. But, they're factors that patients do have some control over.

Diabetes, defined as "A disease in which the body doesn't produce or properly use insulin," according to the AHA, is also a risk factor for heart disease.

The AHA said women with diabetes have from three to seven times the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Reports said "Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, putting them at even greater risk."

The AHA also reports that "Women with diabetes are more likely to die from a heart attack and more likely to have a second attack."

In an effort to educate community residents about diabetes, Park Avenue Pharmacy in Chambersburg is sponsoring a Diabetes Day Thursday, where they will offer free blood glucose monitors.

Cornman said women need to start a "heart healthy" lifestyle. Summit Health Tuesday offered a Women's Heart Advantage presentation that focused on the need for healthier eating and increased physical activity.

"Both are very key in helping also to address a large majority of the other risk factors relating to heart disease," Cornman said.

Heart disease doesn't begin with a heart attack, said Cornman. She said men and women experience different symptoms.

Men's symptoms are "more typical," she said. Chest pain, tightness in the chest, excessive pressure and sweating are often time experienced by men. Some women do experience these same signs, but Cornman said others have indigestion, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, back pain, and unexplained weakness or fatigue.

Women's symptoms tend to be a "little more generic and a bit more difficult to diagnose." Often, she said they are confused with other illnesses.

Heart disease typically is first controlled by nonprescription methods —— exercise programs and diet —— said Strike. But worse-case scenarios will require medications.

Make Your Next Meal Healthier

Gannett News Service


The salad bar is one of your best opportunities for maximizing your nutrient intake, and it’s no place to be stingy with ingredients. Here’s what to look for, courtesy of FITNESS Magazine.

A variety of greens.

Don’t just settle for one type of lettuce, even if it is as vitamin-packed as spinach. Throw in a little radicchio, a couple of tongfuls of iceberg, a few sprigs of frisee. Different lettuces not only provide varying levels of nutrients, but they also make your salad more appealing visually and in terms of taste. (That’s why fancy restaurants usually serve a mix of greens rather than a single type of leaf.)

Colorful vegetables.

Raising the bar on your veggie add-ins will ensure that you pack as many disease-fighting antioxidants into your salad bowl as possible. Antioxidants may work better in the presence of other antioxidants, according to research. And don’t just stick with green vegetables. Choose red tomatoes, yellow peppers, orange carrots, reddish-purple cabbage; the more color, the more plentiful the antioxidants.

Low-fat, not fat-free, dressings.

You’ll absorb more carotenoids from a salad if you choose a vinaigrette that contains a little healthy fat (like olive or canola oil), according to research from Iowa State University. If you really like the fat-free raspberry stuff, toss in a few cubes of avocado or a spoonful of nuts.

Protein, protein, protein!

It’s a must-have at every meal. Toss in a spoonful of beans, tuna or grilled chicken to keep the nutrition up and your hunger down later in the day.

Clogged Arteries Do Far-Ranging Harm

By Bryant Stamford
Gannett News Service


When you consume the typical American diet high in saturated fat, cholesterol, salt and simple sugar, bad things happen, particularly in the arteries.

Plaque forms on the arterial walls, gradually and progressively clogging the arteries with sludge in the same way your kitchen drain pipes get clogged and sluggish from debris. The process of clogging is called atherosclerosis.

Arteries are precious highways that transport life-sustaining blood to all parts of the body. Some parts, like the organs, must have a constant and copious supply of blood, because they require lots of oxygen, which the blood provides. Interruption of the supply of oxygen can cause considerable damage - even death - in a short time.

Impaired arterial blood flow is most often associated with the heart.

When blood supply to the heart muscle is less than the demand, chest pain results; this is called angina pectoris.

If blood supply is completely cut off to a section of the heart for more than two hours, the heart tissue begins to die. This is called a myocardial infarction, or heart attack.

Although the heart is the focus of attention when it comes to blood flow, the impact can be seen all over the body.

Head to toe

Recent research suggests that in older folks, ages 70 to 79, the progression of atherosclerosis in arteries that feed the brain may be a cause of depression.

This is an interesting finding, because depression is common in the elderly and has far-reaching negative effects.

For example, older folks who are depressed may be at greater risk of becoming senile or developing Alzheimer’s disease. Since we don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s, perhaps the linkage between atherosclerosis and depression may prove fruitful in leading to a discernible cause.

There are, of course, many other causes of depression, but if atherosclerosis is a key factor, we at least know how to prevent it, which is more than we can say about most other causes of depression.

Atherosclerosis can occur in any artery in the body, including those in the legs. When the clogging process becomes advanced over years, blood flow to leg muscles is compromised, causing severe pain while walking.

As with angina pectoris, pain in the legs occurs because the demand for oxygen by the contracting muscles is greater than the amount that can be supplied.

As the demand/supply ratio worsens, pain increases, forcing you to stop exercising. Rest reduces the metabolic activity in muscles, reducing the demand for blood flow and oxygen, allowing the supply to catch up, stopping the pain.

This condition in the legs is called claudication. A key feature is that each time you experience pain during walking, it takes about the same amount of time for the pain to subside when you stop to rest.

Many people will experience claudication, but because they have no other symptoms, they will ignore the implications and simply adjust to the situation and rest when necessary.

The implications are, of course, that atherosclerosis has reached an advanced stage in the legs, which means the clogging process is likely to be pretty far along in other arteries as well, perhaps in those that feed the heart.

This means that if you have symptoms as described, with severe leg pain upon exertion, seek the advice of a cardiologist immediately. It may save your life.

In between

Atherosclerosis also can impact the area that lies about midway between the head and the toes.

When atherosclerosis progresses in the arteries that transport blood into the penis, erections are compromised. This is referred to as erectile dysfunction, or impotence.

Erectile dysfunction can have other causes, including psychological and neurological conditions, medications, diabetes, hormonal deficiencies, and others.

But, up to 60 percent of impotence in men over age 60 is caused by atherosclerosis.

This explains the billions spent on Viagra, Cialis and Levitra - FDA-approved drugs for erectile dysfunction that stimulate blood flow into the arteries that feed the penis.

The bottom line

The legacy of a lousy lifestyle is atherosclerosis that progresses slowly but surely and without symptoms until it’s advanced.

Atherosclerosis can be present in any artery in the body. Therefore, unless you clean up your lifestyle, you run the risk of all sorts of nasty outcomes, including heart attack, depression, leg pain upon exertion and erectile dysfunction.

Such daunting outcomes should help persuade even the most stubborn among us to overhaul their diet and get some daily exercise.


Bryant Stamford is an exercise physiologist and director of the Health Promotion and Wellness Center at the University of Louisville. If you have questions about sports injuries, health, exercise or fitness, write to Body Shop, Gannett News Service, care of The Courier-Journal, 525 W. Broadway, P.O. Box 740031, Louisville, Ky. 40201-7431, or e-mail bryant(AT)





One of the most interesting (and certainly most controversial) aspects of the biblical perspective on health is the Old Testament dietary laws. Even to suggest that these 3000 year old laws just might have some relevance to 20th century Christians, will get you quickly branded as a "legalist" in most Christian circles. Of course in contemporary Christianity perhaps the best definition of a legalist is someone who acts on convictions you don't happen to possess, someone who is obeying God in a way you are not!

I have been a student of the health relevance of the Old Testament dietary law for over 25 years. During that time I have fairly strictly followed those eating guidelines, and consider them to be a significant part of my own personal health formula. I encourage other Christians to follow the dietary law for health reasons alone. And just for the record, I see no spiritual benefit or merit for a Christian to follow the dietary law. It's strictly a health issue.


The Dietary Law is found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. The laws distinguished the clean and edible animals from the unclean and inedible animals. Mammals had to be cud-chewing and have cloven hooves to be edible. This made cows, goats, sheep, deer, etc. edible, while pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, horses, etc. were inedible. Water life had to have fins and scales to be edible. Thus most fish we eat today such as cod, trout, salmon, etc. were okay, but shellfish, eels sharks, catfish, squid, etc. did not pass that test.

Among the birds restricted were basically birds of prey, such as falcons and eagles, as well as scavenger birds like vultures. Insects with jointed legs, such as locusts, were considered edible.

Other Mosaic Law passages give further dietary instruction including the prohibition against eating blood (Lev. 17:10-11), animal fat (Lev. 7:23-24) and mixing milk and meat at the same meal (Exod. 23:19). Still other laws related to slaughtering methods, not eating diseased animals, and washing of hands and cooking utensils.

Much of the Dietary Law has been incorporated into Western culture. We don't eat dogs and cats, spiders, maggots, etc. - all of which are forbidden in the Dietary Law. Likewise, Western civilization is built upon other biblical principles of health and sanitation - principles like washing in running water, digging your latrine away from the camp, and quarantining those with communicable diseases (except for "politically protected" communicable diseases like AIDS). The main deviation from the Dietary Law in our culture in eating pigs and shellfish - two of the unhealthiest foods you can eat!


Leviticus 11:47 defines the purpose of the Dietary Law:

" . . . to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten."

This passage beautifully shows the two purposes of the Dietary Law:

1. Distinguishing the "clean" from the "unclean"
2. Distinguishing the "edible" from the "inedible"

"Clean" and "unclean" refers to the ceremonial laws. Only clean animals could be offered as a sacrifice in the Old Testament sacrificial system. This aspect of the Dietary Law has obviously been fulfilled by Christ, who as the final, complete sacrifice for sin, ended the Old Testament sacrificial system (Heb. 10:1-18). But here comes the error: Many Bible expositors, seeing only this purpose of the Dietary Law, rule it totally irrelevant for today.

However, the "edible" and "inedible" distinction noted in Leviticus 11:47 isn't talking about ceremonial sacrifices - it's talking about food, about nourishment, about health. The children of Israel were promised health if they kept God's laws:

"If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer."   Exodus 15:26

Part of those "commandments" that would produce health was the Dietary Law. Thus, the Dietary Law was also based on Health, not just ceremony in the sacrificial system... as now proven by modern science.


While science "discovered" the problem of eating animal fat in recent years, it was prohibited in the Dietary Law 3000 years ago! I want to focus, though, on a most interesting article published in 1953 in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, published by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a study entitled "An Experimental Pharmacological Appreciation of Leviticus XI and Deuteronomy XIV" by David I. Macht, M.D.

Dr. Macht tested extracts of meats of the various "clean" and "unclean" animals according to the Dietary Law, including 54 kinds of fish, using a standard toxicological test. The results were absolutely amazing for a scientific study! Every single animal meat that the Dietary Law said was inedible tested out as toxic in Dr. Macht's experiments. Every single animal meat that God said was edible tested out as non-toxic. There was a 100% correlation between the Dietary Law and the scientific study!


Basically, the Dietary Law is a prohibition against eating scavenger animals. For example, pigs are scavengers that will eat almost anything. Obviously an animal that eats filth won't have very healthy flesh-like us, they too are what they eat. But even if the swine's diet is controlled, its simple digestive system does little to purify the food it does eat. Food becomes flesh on the pig in two hours after consumption. Compare that with a clean, cud-chewing animal like the cow which requires 24 hours to turn food into flesh due to its more complicated digestive tract with four stomachs. The more digestion, the more purification of the food, and the less toxicity.

Trichinosis parasites have long been associated with pork, some authorities indicating that as many as 25% of all Americans are infected. Hubert O. Swartout, M.D., a member of the American Board of Preventive Medicine and Public Health warns:

"Pork, moreover, is objectionable from other points of view than the danger of contracting trichinosis. It contains a larger portion of fats than most other flesh foods. It is difficult to digest. The undulant fever due to the swine type of germ is on the average more severe than that due to either the cattle or goat type. It is no wonder that from the earliest times of Old Testament history swine have been classed as 'unclean'."

Just as pigs are scavengers on land, so shellfish are scavengers in the ocean. It is common knowledge from hygiene textbooks that oysters frequently transmit typhoid. Eating shellfish from polluted waters, such as the deadly "red tide," is often prohibited because their digestive system does not filter out their accumulated toxicity.
Even if the Bible were silent on this subject, there is more than enough scientific evidence to motivate a prudent person to avoid the "unclean" animals for health reasons.


Is it "legalistic" to follow the dietary laws for better health objectives? For some people I would say the answer is "yes," while for others it would be "no." Obeying the Mosaic Law doesn't make you a legalist; obeying it with the wrong motivation does. You know, it's amazing! I've never been accused of being a legalist because I've obeyed the Mosaic Law and not murdered anyone. Though like most males in America I have been circumcised, no one has ever waved Galatians 5:2 under my nose where Paul says, ". . . if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you." So, how come?

In the strict New Testament sense, legalism means believing one isn't saved unless in addition to having faith in Christ, he also keeps the Mosaic Law (or certain portions of it such as circumcision). For example, legalistic Jews in the early church were teaching Gentile Christians that they also had to be circumcised to be saved. Paul spent most of the letter to the Galatians rebuking this heresy. Any teaching that says "faith plus anything else" to be justified or sanctified is legalism. If you think any activity gains you some kind of spiritual merit with God, that's legalism.

As stated earlier, there is no question that Christ's death on the cross eliminated the ceremonial significance to the Dietary Law. But Christ's sacrifice in no way changed either the anatomy of a human being or the anatomy of a pig or other unclean animal! Unclean animals that were physically unhealthy to eat in the days of Moses are just as unhealthy today.


Several New Testament passages are cited as proof that Christians should not follow the Dietary Law. Generally these are taken out of context:

1. Peter's Vision - In Acts 10 & 11 we read of Peter's vision, in which a sheet was lowered from Heaven with unclean animals, while God said, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat." After Peter objects, God says, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy." Interestingly enough, Peter's own interpretation of the vision was not that it was okay for Christians to eat pigs, shellfish, etc. Rather, his interpretation in Acts 10:28 was, "God has shown me that I should no longer consider any man unholy or unclean." The result was that the Church started preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, who were symbolized by the unclean animals, instead of just to the Jews.

2. "All Foods Clean" - In Mark 7:18-23 Jesus said that whatever goes into a man from the outside does not defile him, but rather what comes from the inside, from his heart, defiles him. The passage even says in parentheses: "Thus He declared all foods clean." The question I would ask is, "Defiles him how - physically or spiritually?" The context is clear: Jesus is talking about spiritual defilement, that is, being unacceptable before God. Food wasn't going to spiritually defile you and send you to Hell, like the Pharisees thought, but what was in your heart certainly could. The passage has nothing to do with physical health, and is thus out of context when used to nullify the health value of the Dietary Law.

3. "Everything Good for Food"? - I Timothy 4:4-5 reads:

"For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer." (New American Standard Bible)

If it means every creature is good and healthy to eat, you better expand your diet to snakes, eels, lizards, maggots, spiders, etc.  

What the passage literally says is for once better translated in the King James Version, where is says, "For every creature of God is good, and nothing . . . " In the context of food, what would a first century Christian of Jewish background think a creature "of God" was? A clean animal from the Dietary Law. The passage is again in the context of legalistic spiritual merit from eating or abstaining from certain foods. In their proper context no New Testament passage forbids following the Dietary Law for health reasons . . . and those health reasons are as valid today as they were 3000 years ago.

This information is provided for edification purposes only.  It is not intended to diagnose illness nor prescribe treatment.  It is not written to condemn nor condone your choice of diet.  While Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was a fulfillment of the law, it did not abolish the law.  As Christians, we are still free to benefit from God’s promises of health and healing by following His dietary laws.  However, Philippians 2:12-13 tells us: 

12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Should you use this information on your own, you are prescribing for yourself, which is your constitutional right, but neither the author nor publisher assume responsibility.  Please consult a physician before making any changes to your prescribed health regime.


Fitness And Health: Seven Life-Changing Secrets
Gannett News Service


Fitness magazine offers tips for flatter abs, less stress and more:

Picking the right diet for you

Look for your favorite foods. An obvious but often overlooked point is that the best diet is one you’ll stick to - not a hyped-to-the-hilt plan or the strategy that helped your sister drop 10 pounds. If you adore fruit or pasta, for example, a high-protein regimen is a recipe for failure. Remember that a diet is a way of life rather than a quick fix - and it’s hard to live with a plan that keeps you away from the things you love.

Your flattest abs ever

Keep the contraction constant while doing crunches. When you lower your back and head to the floor between each move, you rely on your hip flexors or upper back, rather than your abs, to bring your body back up. Making the movement small and tight keeps abdominal muscles active, which maximizes the burn-and your results.

Heading off a hangover

Set your alarm for an hour before you need to get up. Then take 800 milligrams of ibuprofen and go back to bed. Though twice the over-the-counter dose, it’s a safe amount to take occasionally (provided you don’t have kidney disease or ulcers). The drug targets inflammation, which can cause hangover symptoms like head and body aches. Spending that hour in bed - even if you don’t fall back asleep - gives the drug time to work and allows you to start your day refreshed instead of flagging.

Feeling ‘yoga calm’ all day

Breathe slowly. Rapid breathing sends a signal to your body to speed things up, which can contribute to anxiety. Throughout the day, zero in on your breath just as you would in yoga class, lengthening each inhalation and exhalation and concentrating on the path of air as it travels through your body. You’ll feel more focused and less flustered in seconds.

Getting a solid answer from a hard-to-pin-down person

Ask a solid question. Many times, we’re afraid to hear the word no, so we make wishy-washy queries. Pose your question so there’s no room for anything but a yes or no response - such as, “Am I in the running for that job?” or “Can you fix my computer today?’ While unpleasant to hear, a no will at least enable you to move on with your life.

Solving a problem

Lie down. A study from the Australian National University found that people come up with solutions to puzzles faster when supine. Your body may produce less noradrenaline, a hormone that can raise anxiety and interfere with creative thinking.

Reaching any health goal

Write a letter to a loved one. List every excuse you can think of for not taking care of yourself. Then explain why these unhealthy habits may mean you won’t be around for this person in the future. Rather than sending the note, keep it nearby to read when your motivation wanes. In addition to making you accountable for your actions, it will remind you that the changes you’re making will prolong your life and the amount of time you’ll be able to spend with friends and family.


Copyright 2006, AJ Hanley. First printed in the March 2006 issue of Fitness magazine. Write to the editors of Fitness magazine: fitnessmail(AT)


Copyright © 2005-2009 by Rev. Dr. Ricardo E. Nuñez.  All Rights Reserved.


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