Thursday, July 26, 2012
A nearly four-page treatise concerning foods of plant-based origin and the human diet.
A vegan diet is a diet consisting of foods solely from plant sources. Vegans never consume any food of animal source, for various reasons. Many vegans are “raw foodists”, meaning that they only consumed food that has not been treated at high enough temperatures to chemically alter if from its inherent, raw, state.
As a student of the Bible, I see clearly that Adam and Eve were given to eat herbs, fruits, vegetables, and seeds, in the Garden of Eden. Later on, after man sinned, God gave Noah to eat of “every living creature that moves”. Then when God gave the Torah, he defined “clean” and “unclean” food for the children of Israel. The righteous prophet Daniel, while exiled in Babylon, chose to only consume foods of animal sources as well as abstain from wine so as not to defile himself. Judging material I read from Josephus, a historian of antiquity, I think Daniel’s diet not only consisted of fresh and raw fruits and vegetables, but also grains, legumes, and dehydrated foods such as prunes and dates.
Sometimes we may call to question the cleanliness of certain animal-derived foods, or not be able to attain them for consumption. If so, we must know how to nourish our bodies with foods of vegetable source.
I am not a vegan for moral or social reasons, in fact I believe in consuming milk and meat products. I don’t believe that being a vegan will save or heal the world, or that killing animals is wrong. I believe that animals should be treated kindly and humanely, but that they are different from humans. Since the sin of man, blood has been shed, and will continue to be shed until the world is born anew.
Today is happen often that animal flesh and life has been treasured over human flesh and that is wrong. Humans and animals were both formed from the dirt and made into living flesh (nefesh) but humans have the neshama and ruach of God breathed into them and they are unique because they are made in the image of God. The Noachide covenant reveals to us that every human life shed must be repaid. Not so with animals; animals can be consumed by all descendants of Noah.
The world’s problems – its horrible sufferings and injustices – I believe can only be done away with, and the entire world renewed, with the coming of the Messiah. During that age it is be like Gan Eden, only better. That is when animals will no longer prey on each other and slay each other, but they will live in peace. When the Messiah comes into the world – creation and all its fullness – will be at peace and rest in perfection.
The environmental impact that humans have had in this world has largely been for evil and not for good, especially since the Industrial Revolution. Earth’s resources have been badly polluted. Many plants have been genetically modified for the worse. Unfortunately, humans at large only realize now what evil has been done on the environment. Do you know that many of our habits and practices harm our environment? Whatever harms our environment harms us, and whatever harms us today will kill our children tomorrow. So we should live responsibly.
Vegan food is not the perfect food – no matter what you base your diet on, you cannot escape death. All men die and will continue to die. In this age, death abounds – but the day will come when death, our greatest enemy – will be defeated. Science has proven that unlike in the days of Adam and Eve, we cannot “eat and live forever”.
I believe that everything Adam and Eve consumed gave them life – it was life-giving, nourishing, food. It was not only the Tree of Life that gave them life but every tree in the Garden nourished and sustained life.
As a result of human intervention in the past and in the future, food has been corrupted and genetically modified. The environment has changed since the flood of Noah, and has changed for the worse. When the environment changes, so does the plants, animals, and humans in that environment change, also for the worse.
The food that Adam and Eve ate was perfect, pure, and good in every way. During that time God’s creation was still perfect and unharmed. God said that it was good. Certainly it was good, very good. Traces of that goodness and nourishment can still be found in food today – vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients are always best consumed from natural, fresh sources rather than from pills. Nature has its green “pharmacy” of herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are life-giving. If you were to study the goodness of each natural fruit, vegetable, and herb, you would be amazed at the wisdom and thoughtfulness of God who made them so good.
However we know that there are anti-nutrients. Today, foods, even the best of foods, can harm you. Too much of bananas will kill you. Too much of soy will affect your hormones and your ability to absorb nutrients. Too much of anything is bad. Every food, no matter how vegan, raw, or organic, has something “bad” inside of that, and that is sad. Nothing in this world is perfectly good and pure. This world is sick. The trees and plants are sick. And as Jesus said, “A good tree bears good fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit nor can a bad tree bear good fruit”. In a perfect environment, perfect trees grow perfect fruits. In a corrupted environment, corrupted trees bear corrupted foods which fed into humans already corrupted in body, mind, and spirit, can only bring forth corruption.
Health comes not only through eating a varied, balanced, and nutritious diet but through obeying Torah. When you are healthy and abundant in spirit and soul, full of joy, speaking words that edify others, that affects your physical health. If you are depressed, bitter, greedy, full of hate, resentment, unforgiveness, or speak much gossip, that will affect you health also. A soul at peace with its Creator is one at peace with itself, and at peace with creation. Peace is a state of health and abundance. A spiritual relationship with God, and an unselfish relationship with regard to other people, and a life lived the best possible in good faith, good conscience, generally makes for the best possible physical health also.
Our lifestyle also impacts our health. We were made to till the ground and work the grain. Non-manual labor is unhealthy, because when our muscles are not being used and built the body goes into a state of entropy. The best kind of exercise is productive, food-building exercise.
This is quick summary of some natural plant products that you can and should consume:
Fruits are sweet, juicy, and beautiful. They taste appetizing, look appetizing, and come in many colors. They are full of nutrients. You can consume fruits in their natural state. Having obtains them in season, wash your fruits well. It is best to consume fruits raw, and cooking them spoils their natural enzymes. Cooking fruits reduces their nutritive value to mostly sugar, which is energy, and soluble fiber. Fruits, herbs, and vegetables can be combined raw into cold smoothies. Smoothies are full of fiber and nutrients.
Consume all manner of fruits, such as, apples, guavas, pears, bananas, oranges, peaches, apricots, persimmons, etc. Be amazed at God’s creativity.
Try to eat them with the skin and with the seeds. God told Adam and Eve to eat the seeds – seeds are the source of cancer-killing B17, good oils, and fiber. But don’t consume too much of fruit seeds on their own – take fruits in their naturally occurring form, seeds together with the skin and the meat.
Preserve fruits in season by freezing them in their best condition. Some fruits are delicious dehydrated, like raisins, dates, prunes, etc.
I never liked vegetables, because they never tasted that great to me. There are green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, starchy vegetables like pumpkins, carrots, turnips, and sweet potatoes, there are tomatoes, and there are grasses.
You can eat well-cleaned and natural fresh vegetable in a salad, flavored with honey, olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh good-smelling herbs. I love making vinaigrettes to pour over salad – they are enjoyable even to non-vegans and make a good addition to a meal.
You can make a “roasted vegetable” salad by roasting pumpkin, carrots, tomatoes, and other starchy vegetables. Roasted vegetables are delicious, seasoned with herbs.
Thirdly, several varieties of vegetables can be lightly steamed, blanched, or fried, for example broccoli or brussel sprouts. It is important to consume raw as well as cooked vegetables as cooking vegetables often bring out their best nutrients.
Of course there are other non-animal organisms consumed on a lower scale, such as mushrooms, fungi, etc. that can be considered “plant” based. They are also delicious and benefitial. Some harness the natural fermenting properties of food to preserve them. Pickles, fermented carrots, fermented alcoholic beverages, etc. have been used for millennia to preserve food. Fermentation has been long known to promote digestion and consuming good bacterium also does too.
Herbs are either “soft” or “hard”. Soft herbs are like leaves and vegetables. Hard herbs are like dried berries and tree bark. Herbs are very medicinal, meaning, full of benefits for our body.
You can make herb teas, out of fresh or dried herbs, flavored with honey. Lemongrass tea, for example, fights cancer and disease. Many herbs have a long list of health benefits. Sometimes you may need a concentrated dose of herbs, and you should make a thick tea, called can infusion, with less liquid. Some people make tinctures by infusing a large proportion of herbs in vinegar, alcohol, or honey. Herbs infused in oil or made into curry pastes are very delicious in cooking.
Aloe vera is a herb that is good for you both internally and externally.
Legumes are a multi-purpose food – they are vegetables, carbohydrates, and sources of protein. Sprouted legumes are delicious in a salad and nutritious, but they also can be cooked into savory dishes like dhal curry or hummus. Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisines are full of legume recipes. Chinese cuisine uses sprouted beans in many, many, ways and in many dishes. Legumes like soy are also fantastic sprouted and made into tempeh, soy sauce, etc.
Rice, barley, corn, oats, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, etc. should be consumed whole. They are energy-giving carbohydrates and can pack a powerful nutritional punch also. You should eat carbohydrates and fiber in your diet. You can sprout many grains, and that makes them digestable. Soaking grains makes them even more digestable. Being Asian, I have a stomach built to consume grains, especially rice. Grains can be ground fresh and baked into pastries and bread. Grains can be boiled, and or eaten as raw sprouts. The easiest way to cook grains is to sprout and boil them with sufficient water so that they have the texture of cooked rice – not wet, not hard, not grainy, and not clumpy – and serve them with vegetables, herbs, spices, etc. You can also make your own natural yeasted baked or steamed whole grain bread.
6) Seeds and nuts
Chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds – all these seeds can be consumed in so many ways. Seeds can be sprouted, freshly ground, or made into cold-pressed oils. They can go into your salad, into your bread, or just eaten on their own. Nuts are full of beneficial oils and nutrients. You can soak them, roast them, and season them with natural salt. Nuts pack a huge energy punch because they are full of oils. Nuts make good “butters”.
One superfood from a plant source is the coconut. It can be used as sugar, as milk, as meat, and as fat. Seed oils, nuts oils, nut butters, palm oil, etc. are great to use in cooking.
Nut milks, grain milks, and legume milks are a common part of vegan diets. They serve many culinary and nutritional purposes and can be consumed raw.
Fresh, natural, and non-commercially processed plant based foods are the food we were created to consume and to live, that we have been eating since Adam without additives, preservatives, artificial colors, etc. Soon, I shall make a post about animal-based foods that we have been eating since Noah and since Moses.