The Incredible Value of God’s Bible Health Principles

(in process)


Many people have a general idea that health principles are important. But God’s health principles are far more important than most realize. They can help save tens of millions of lives per year and trillions of dollars per year. If followed, they would allow us to solve a whole slew of other problems in society. Many secular scientists have paid tribute to SDAs for revolutionizing the health of the world.

Some misguided pastors in other churches though try to justify ignoring the Bible’s health principles in many ways. One Baptist pastor, quite smart in archaeology and other areas, for example said:

“The reason God said don’t eat pork or shave your head round…was to protect Israel from neighboring nations that practised fertility rituals that included those kinds of things. The Hittites raised pork. The Canada  food guide says lean pork is better for you than chicken. Lots of people do well and eat pork. LOL. ” pastor Luke

Unbiblical pastors like this unfortunately influence a lot of people to engage in very destructive habits and make people unaware of the reasons God gave His health laws and others. God said very clearly.

  • “…If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you….18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you….the Lord our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day.” Deut. 6:2-3,18,24
  • “Keep the commandments and keep your life; despising them leads to death.” Proverbs 19:16
  • “Honoring the LORD lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.” Proverbs 10:27
  • “And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.” 1 Kings 3:14
  • “Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health.” Isaiah 38:16
  • “My health is broken because of my sins.” Psalm 38:3
  • “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”  Exodus 15:26

Science decisively proves God’s promises true. People who follow God’s Bible health laws (esp. Jews and SDAs) have decades more life and far better health than others do as Dr. Daniel Buettner explains here:
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100.html

As a missionary, university professor and church pastor, I have always made sure to speak about the health principles God has given in the Bible and through Ellen White encapsulated in the acronym NEWSTART.

I explained that the World Health Organization says that the #1 cause of death is bad health habits and ~40 million people die every year, most of them because of smoking, drinking alcohol, not exercising and not eating healthy food (especially lots of fruits and vegetables).[1] Over 1600 scientific studies show that these health habits bring enormous benefits of many kinds such as adding 14 years or more to life.[2]

Some students and church visitors were stunned and impressed by these things and changed their health habits. But I found that many still didn’t take their health very seriously since living to 90 years old instead of 80 seemed very distant and disconnected from their present life and challenges here and now. Jake Mulder who has worked with Youth for Christ, Youth With A Mission (YWAM), Fuller Youth Institute and is coauthor of Growing Young noted something similar in his talk at the 2018 Ehuddle NAD symposium on evangelizing millennials. In a research interview, one millennial said,

“It doesn’t sound like good news if it doesn’t apply until after you’re dead”[3]

Mulder points out that Jesus’ preaching was full of the idea that the kingdom of God is at hand. Prophets throughout the Bible as well as the NT church spoke of the importance and impact of God’s truths on life here and now as well as in eternity all the time. The purpose of godliness is actually to benefit life both now and for eternity as my favorite Bible verse, 1 Timothy 4:8, plainly states.

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

So I collected a great deal of scientific research and real life experiences about many more reasons why health habits are important now and in the nearer future, created experiential experiments for the students (such as a health diary experiment similar to Daniel’s experiment in Babylon), found professional online health tests to help students pinpoint areas to improve, gathered film clips, games and more to help them understand why health habits are a really big deal now as well as long term and to increase motivation to follow them. Here are some reasons God’s health habits make a huge difference now.

  1. TRUTH: Oxford professor Felipe Fernando-Armesto said, “Once truth has been devoured, people swallow falsehoods whole. Without confidence in the concept of truth, listeners are disarmed against lies.” [4] Many researchers and documentaries agree that one of the more effective ways to cloud people’s minds and disarm them against lies is to influence them to eat a lot of unhealthy foods. “Fast food, Fat profits: Obesity in America” for example is one that explains how corporations influence politics to prevent laws regarding healthy food for kids When students understand this, they think a lot more seriously about their health habits.

  2. ECONOMICS: Bad health habits cost the world ~$6.5 trillion a year[5] and will cost up to $47 trillion on just 5 chronic diseases over the next 20 years according to the World Economic Forum.[6] In addition, ~60% of bankruptcies are caused by medical problems.[7] The UN has estimated that it would cost ~$75 billion to end extreme poverty worldwide. So the savings from following ancient wisdom could eliminate poverty worldwide many times over.

    James Poterba, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Money.

    “The healthiest people in their fifties had more than doubled the
    assets of the least healthy, and this wealth gap only grew.” [12]

    There are a myriad of serious and dire consequences of poverty, including on innocent children. Read some about them here:
    https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/kzan9v/the-brains-of-rich-and-poor-kids-look-vastly-different  https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/reports/2007/01/24/2450/the-economic-costs-of-poverty/ 

    www.borgenmagazine.com/ways-poverty-hurts-mental-health/ 

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/parenting-
    purpose/201710/how-poverty-hurts-children

    https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-04-20/the-countless-ways-poverty-affects-peoples-health

    https://mic.com/articles/89717/45-surprising-facts-about-extreme-poverty-around-the-world-you-may-not-have-realized#.s27GW9VHC


  3. FINANCIAL EXPERIENCES:  When people understand how dramatically health influences wealth, it motivates a lot more changes. When they hear stories like these of people losing everything due to health problems, it is quite motivating to help my students and friends make serious changes in their health habits.

    **“I was fit as a fiddle. At 35 I got cancer. I was making 6 figures in Atlanta saving 20% of my income. I had short term and long term disability. My employer was patient for a year and then made up a reason to terminate…I had three yrs of savings,…a great career and I lost it all due to health.“ Mary

    **“[Due to a health crisis], I lost my savings, home and credit in bankruptcy.” Karol

    **“I just am stunned I was so naive. I saved, had stock options, bought and sold homes on side as additional income, and maxed out 401k. We had a BMW and Mercedes and paid someone to pick up dog poop in the yard! The stupidity. Now[due to a health crisis]… I have 300.00 in savings…I tell you this not for pity but just how easy it can all go away.”


  4. CAREER SUCCESS:  Research from the Carnegie Institute of Technology says that IQ knowledge is responsible for only ~15% of career success. EQ (emotional quotient), BQ (body/health quotient) and MQ (moral quotient) and other types of intelligence influence up to 85% of career success as well as improving creativity, higher grades and more.[8]

  5. GRADES: Studies show that following just the 4 habits above can also improve grades ~25% and sometimes much more.[9] Getting good sleep adds another ~15%. There are at least 15 health habits that contribute to getting much better grades. Dr. Neil Barnard explains a major reason for the body-brain connection,
    “Every minute, our brain cells are bathing in the nutrients—or toxins—we take in through food…we can put foods on our plates today to help keep the brain in high gear well into the future. “
    [10]UCLA’s Dr. Gomez-Pinilla analyzed over 160 studies on food-brain connections and published the results in the journal Nature. He says:
    “Emerging research indicates that the effects of diet on the brain, combined with the effects of exercise and a good night’s sleep, can strengthen synapses and provide other cognitive benefits”[11]


  6. EXPERIENTIAL HEALTH EXPERIMENTS: Daniel and his friends did the first scientific experiment with a control group in recorded history with diet in Daniel 1. Based on that, I taught students some basics of science, asked them to do a baseline diary, then try changing 4-5 health habits from a list of 20+ for 10 days and write down the changes they experienced in different categories. Students could connect science to health, use critical thinking, establish cause and effect relationships and get to know how their bodies work. Many students were quite surprised and committed to follow these habits long term:
    **“I decided to change my bad habits. Wow! I now always feel so good. Everything seems lovely. Finally my life changed almost totally from before. I thank my professor. I will change my life continuously. It is a good project.”  Lee Jae Sung

    **“It [the health project] wrought amazing changes. I feel…refreshed every morning. Also, I could concentrate when I study. I think I will continue these habits after this class.” Kim Hyun Sic

    **”Until now, I didn’t have any interest in health. But, I changed my lifestyle. These days I feel fresh every day. I don’t have any stomachache or constipation anymore. Making some simple alterations to my diet made me feel fitter.” Ju Jae Hyung


  7. ENVIRONMENT: Good health habits are also crucial solutions to environmental destruction and pollution which are factors in ~12,000,000 deaths a year[13] and cause other serious problems around the world. Researchers have concluded that some aspects of western diets are so harmful that if everyone ate like Americans, we would have to have several planets to produce it all.[14] Eating meat is one of the very biggest causes of damage to the environment, especially water pollution and deforestation.[15]

  8. PERSONAL EXPERIENCES: I shared life stories of relatives in my family with them showing them the contrast between my grandpa living to 105 and playing basketball into his 80s due to healthy habits and his own daughter dying ~25 years younger and being confined to a wheel chair for years before that due to radically different health habits. Another case of a friend whose child developed autism due partly to his mother consuming polluted seafood while pregnant was also very eye opening to many students.

  9. HAPPINESS: I share how research is finding significant benefits to our emotions from healthy eating. ”
    ‘On days when people ate more fruits and vegetables, they reported feeling calmer, happier and more energetic than they normally did,’ Dr. Conner said in a statement….Their study, called Many apples a day keep the blues away – Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption, found that more than one or two fruits or vegetables each day are required to get the results. They say consuming 7 or 8 fruits/vegetables a day is necessary to gain that extra happiness, calmness and energy.”
    [16]

    Universities like Harvard are teaching classes on positive psychology since happiness can improve efficiency/success by ~20-30%.

    Even atheist scientists are confirming that the most effective ways are weekly church, healthy families, meaningful work, being thankful, forgiving others and simple things that God wisely asked us to do long ago.[17] 


  10. PREVENTING HUNGER/THIRST: Eating meat uses up to 160% more land resources than vegetarians and also uses extremely high amounts of water compared to fruits and vegetables. Just one person avoiding meat for a year can save ~162,486 gallons of water which is enough water for 445 people![18] Scientists think that everyone will have to become vegetarian by 2050 to avoid many deaths due to lack of water. [19]

  11. DESCENDANTS AND EPIGENETICS: The new field of epigenetics is showing that our choices have quite significant effects on future generations. Dr. Hanson and his team think that choices made as early as the teenage years can also impact their children’s lifespan and says, “We need a new focus on adolescent health and behavior not only to help our young people but so that when they become parents they pass on healthier epigenetic processes to the next generation.” [20]

  12. SABBATH: Sabbath of course has powerful connections to physical, mental and spiritual health. The scientific field of chronobiology has found 7 day circaseptan rhythms all over nature which are deep in our metabolic, hormonal, and neuronal networks.[21] When people rest every 7 days, they have optimal performance. Scientists like Dan Buettner of National Geographic found that the Adventist habits of Sabbaths with worship, music, time for rest, prayer, exercise in nature and strengthening communal relationships bring quite significant benefits to physical and mental health in reducing diseases, delaying cognitive decline and more.[22]

 

REFERENCES

[1] Noncommunicable diseases. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs355/en.

[2] Khaw K-T, Wareham N, Bingham S, Welch A, Luben R, Day N . 2008. Combined Impact of Health Behaviours and Mortality in Men and Women: The EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study”. http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050012.

[3] 2018 Ehuddle NAD symposium (~1:07:00), https://www.facebook.com/NADAdventist/videos/10157072085854409/

[4] “Truth, A history and a Guide for the Perplexed”, Felipe Fernando-Armesto, p. 165.

[5] Spending on health: A global overview. 2012. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs319/en/.

[6] Harvard School of Public Health, 2011. The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases. www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Harvard_HE_GlobalEconomicBurdenNonCommunicableDiseases_2011.pdf

[7] Dan Mangan, “Medical Bills Are the Biggest Cause of US Bankruptcies: Study”, www.cnbc.com/id/100840148

[8] Keld Jensen. 2012. Intelligence Is Overrated: What You Really Need To Succeed. http://www.forbes.com/sites/keldjensen/2012/04/12/intelligence-is-overrated-what-you-really-need-to-succeed/.

[9] Bohling, Annie. 2014.”Stress, lack of sleep can lower your grades and hurt your health”. www.dailynebraskan.com/news/stress-lack-of-sleep-can-lower-your-grades-and-hurt/article_0643a742-4d0d-11e4-8ca2-001a4bcf6878.html,

[10] Dr. Neal Barnard, “Power Foods for the Brain Reveals Brain-Boosting Diet”, www.pcrm.org/media/experts/neal-barnard-power-foods-for-the-brain-book “.

[11] Stuart Wolpert, “Scientists learn how what you eat affects your brain–and those of your kids”, newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/scientists-learn-how-food-affects-52668, July 9, 2008. nature.com/nrn/Journal/v9/n7/abs/nrn2421.html.

[12] “Good Health Habits May Actually Save You Money, Possibly Lead To High Paying Job” , Samantha Olson, www.medicaldaily.com/health-habits-save-money-high-paying-job-393010, Jul 28, 2016.

[13] www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/,

[14] Cowspiracy, the sustainability secret, www.cowspiracy.com/infographic

[15] Orlov, Alex. 2016. The World Would Not Exist If Everyone Ate like Americans, https://mic.com/articles/143621/american-diet-is-so-disastrous-it-would-have-wreck-the-planet-in-year-2000

[16] Don’t worry – eat: Study shows fruits and veggies make you happy. Marcus Hondro. Jan 27, 2013  www.digitaljournal.com/article/342205      

[17] Dr. Amit Amin. 54 Ways to Increase Your Happiness Set Point. www.happierhuman.com/how-to-be-happy/#a36.

[18] “Shut the Front Door! If We Ate Less Meat, This Is What Would Happen to the Planet“, Jaimi Dolmage, www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/eat-for-the-planet-meat-and-the-environment/, July 31, 2016.

[19] “Will People Really Be Forced to Stop Eating Meat?”, Wolchover, Natalie. www.livescience.com/22814-meat-eating-vegetarianism.html, August 29, 2012.       

[20] Your children could inherit your lifestyle in their genes”, Dr. Mark Hanson, www.physoc.org/press-release/2013/your-children-could-inherit-your-lifestyle-their-genes      

[21] “Science has discovered . . . The Amazing 7-Day Cycle”, by Kenneth Westby, www.godward.org/archives/Special%20Articles/7-Day%20Cycle.htm      

[22] “How to live to be 100+”, Dan Buettner, https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100/, September 2009      

Experiencing how God’s truth energizes life!