For the majority of our lives (into our early thirties) we subsisted on what is commonly referred to as the S.A.D.- the Standard American Diet. This refers to a diet based on meats, dairy, refined grains and processed foods. We ate what most Americans ate, lived how most Americans live, and suffered the health consequences from which most Americans suffer. We put up with a variety of physical ailments (even in our twenties) that we just figured were the standard American fare- headaches, back pain, high blood pressure, acid stomach, difficult menstrual cycles, eczema, gas, body odor, fatigue, etc.
The SAD version of us, in 1997
It wasn’t until the fall of 1998 when my husband, John, was diagnosed with Meneire’s disease that we started to take a careful look at how our diet and lifestyle might be impacting our health. For us, it took something serious to cause us to consider changing our ways. You see, even before he was diagnosed with this condition, John wasn’t doing so well. At age 31 (and 5’8”) he weighed 270 pounds and was on high blood pressure medicine. We see now how God allowed this difficulty in our lives to be used for our best.
I began reading and researching and spent a lot of time experimenting with recipes. Gradually, step by step, we let go of more and more of the Standard American Diet and experimented with and incorporated more and more whole, natural foods into our diet. Our tastes began to change along with the foods. We found that this was not a matter of suffering and deprivation- once we began eating wholesome foods we found we truly enjoyed them.
I need to share a brief side note here, in case you are saying to yourself, “But I’m too picky an eater to like plain old natural foods”. John was about as picky as they come. He was truly a “meat and potatoes” man, and I couldn’t easily try to get away with preparing a meat-less meal prior to our change. John ate very little vegetables (corn, broccoli- that’s about it) and he had never eaten raw vegetables- say nothing about a salad. He had only once in his life eaten a piece of raw fruit- and that was only half an orange in sheer desperation during a family trip to the Grand Canyon. Now, John eats no meat or dairy, consumes mostly raw fruits and vegetables as well as some cooked grains, beans, vegetables and fruits- and thoroughly enjoys it. Things have certainly changed- now he just doesn’t feel right if a day goes by without a salad. It was a gradual change for us, but now we have developed such a love and appreciation for whole, natural foods, we can’t imagine eating any other way.
John’s goal from the outset was to improve his health through changing what he ate (not limiting amounts) and incorporating physical activity into his lifestyle. He never set out to lose weight- but what a great side effect the weight loss was! John lost over 100 pounds, uses no medication and has not had a Meneire’s episode since Spring 1999. God designed us with some pretty incredible self-healing bodies! We learned, and personally experienced, that our bodies come into balance and weight stabilizes as we give them the nutrition and care they need (in the form of whole, natural foods and a healthy lifestyle).
Likewise I am practically free of the problems of eczema, headaches, acid stomach, Candida, and back pain. A menstrual cycle can pass almost without notice. We’ve also seen a myriad of other little annoyances just disappear- for example, John and I haven’t worn any form of deodorant in years (this usually raises some eyebrows!).
Many people attribute physical healing to miraculous intervention (and we certainly won’t deny God’s ability to do so!) but we find ourselves equally awed by the miracle God worked at creation in designing our bodies and the means for healthfully sustaining them. We are so thankful to God for His wise and gracious design of our bodies and the health He has allowed us to find through diet and lifestyle change!
And, in case you’re interested, here’s some more information: