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Clean and Healthy Biblical Diet
In the new testament of the Bible, God has allowed us to eat foods that are treated as ceremonially unclean during the old testament times. God has made these foods clean through Lord Jesus Christ and whoever eats these unclean foods will not sin anymore and will not be treated as unclean.
" I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance, I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beast, reptiles, and birds of the air. then I heard a voice telling me,'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.'
'I replied, surely not, Lord! nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
'the voice spoke from heaven a second time,'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.' This happened three times, and then it was pulled up to heaven again."
Acts 11:5-10 NIV
In these verses in the Bible, Apostle Peter saw a vision. In this vision, God has made anything impure clean and therefore allowed Apostle Peter to eat these animals that are considered unclean before.
Regarding this matter, This is what Lord Jesus Teaches us;
" Jesus called the crowd to him and said, 'Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean', but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean'."
Matthew 15:10-11 NIV
" Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? but the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean'."
Matthew 15:17-18 NIV
In the old testament, people become unclean just by eating unclean food, but now people become unclean because of what comes out from our mouths. So now, Christians will not be treated as sinners because of the food they eat but because of the words they speak.
But then why would God separate clean and unclean foods to eat? Well, it is because God cares so much for his people. Unclean foods are unhealthy and clean foods are healthy.
Although eating unclean foods are allowed to Christians and it will not make us sin, it is still unclean for our bodies and unhealthy.
First, let's talk about the Clean foods.
Clean Foods in the Bible
Fruits and Vegetables
" Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food'."
Genesis 1:29 NIV
Any Meat of an Animal that has a Split Hoof Divided in Two and that Chews the Cud
"These are the animals you may eat: The ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep."
Deuteronomy 14:4-5 NIV
Seafood that has Fins and Scales
" Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales."
Deuteronomy 14:9 NIV
Poultry( Chicken, Pigeon, Dove, Quail, Sparrow, Turkey, etc.)
" you may eat any clean bird."
Deuteronomy 14:11 NIV
Insects/ Winged Creatures that Walk on All Fours that has Jointed Legs for Hopping
" There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: Those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these, you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, Cricket or Grasshopper."
Leviticus 11:21-22 NIV
Fruits and Vegestables
We all know that Fruits and Vegetables are a very healthy source of food. It has a lot of benefits to human bodies. Whether it is fresh, frozen, canned, dried or 100% juice it is still nutritious.
These foods are full of fiber that cleanses your stomach for healthier digestion. “A food that cleanses” from this fact alone we can conclude why God enables us to eat them. It is also low in calories, making them the perfect foods to those who want to lose weight. Fruits and Vegetables are also known to be rich in vitamins and minerals.
But that’s not all, they can also reduce the risk of various diseases! Diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers plus, it can make you look young due to anti-oxidants!
I know, wonderful Right!? No wonder God enables us to eat them as written in Genesis 1:29-30.
Any Meat of an Animal that has a Split Hoof Divided in Two and that Chews the Cud
Because hooves protect the feet of the animal from abrasion and wound from sharp objects on the ground. Parasites, germs, and bacteria live on the ground and they can enter the body through wounds. Considering this fact, it makes it clear why hooves are one of the factors to be considered in determining clean animals. Isn’t God amazing!
And what is the advantage of meats coming from animals with hooves?
According to the World Book Encyclopedia;
"The flesh of hooved animals is freer from diseases and parasites because it is protected by a non-living, keratin sheath that encases the toe or foot -- the point of the animal's anatomy most likely to come in contact with parasites!"
(World Book Encyc., vol.9, 1985)
Therefore, their meats are cleaner compared to other animals with paws.
But why do the hooves need to be cloven or split into two?
According to The Pulpit Commentary;
"By the division of the hoof ... the animal is able so to order its steps as not to throw up the mud upon itself, as the horse does whose hoof is not cloven"
(The Pulpit Commentary, 2:176)
Animals with cloven hooves are able to walk or run to muddy terrain without throwing muds upon their bodies, thus the germs and parasites cannot come into contact with their upper body.
Now that we know the advantage of the animals with hooves split into two/cloven let's talk about the process of cud-chewing. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual;
page 1486 of the Merck Veterinary Manual (6th ed., 1986) states:
"Where ruminants differ significantly from other mammals is in the Microbial Predigestion of much of their oral intake in the forestomachs, chiefly in the rumen and reticulum.... The Forestomach may be regarded as a Fermentation Vat in which symbiotic bacteria and protozoa act in a favorable environment To Reduce Plant Products, some of which (cellulose) would otherwise be Indigestible, to forms that the ruminant can then use. Sugars and starches are fermented rapidly, celluloses less so, the end products being chiefly volatile fatty acids (VFA), CO2, energy, and water.... the Ruminants can utilize a larger portion of plant material than most monogastrics.... as with starches and lipids, conversion of Protein by the microbes results in nutrients digested by the host animal. Additionally, B vitamins and vitamin K are synthesized by the microbes."
So what is Microbial Predigestion?
It is where the microbes present in the stomach of the cud-chewing animals produces enzymes to digest the cellulose or the plant food eaten by these animals and this process of digestion takes up to 24 hours to be completed therefore we know that the food is digested properly unlike in pigs where digestion only takes up to 3 hours!
Another reason why these animals are clean is that because they are vegetarians! Plant-eating animals tend to have fewer diseases, and parasites, therefore, making them healthier than other animals. Compared to carnivorous animals which eat meat, fats, and possibly also the parasites, disease, and bacteria of their prey! And these things are being transferred to their bodies once they consume their prey.
Seafood that has Fins and Scales
Why do clean sea foods need to have scales?
The oceans and water are a home of different parasites and bacteria. Without scales, these parasites can easily penetrate the body of the fish. Scales protect the fish from abrasion and wounds like the hooves do to clean animals, you see the similarities? They both have protection against parasites which makes them free from most of the parasites, bacteria, and diseases. A type of scale formation called "Cycloidal and ctenoid scales" in which scales overlap with each other to cover the entire skin of the fish makes it harder for parasites and bacteria to enter the body of the fish.
Another advantage of scales is that they reflect light which repels the leeches and scuds that host several parasites as stated in the book called “Pond Life”;
"A secondary purpose of Scales might be to Reflect Light. Since clean fish, virtually without exception, live near the surface in sunlit waters, their thin, translucent scales act like small, silver mirrors. This phenomenon is significant because certain undesirable organisms, including Leeches and Scuds, which host several parasites, Shun Light."
(Pond Life, pp.83,91)
Leeches and scuds transfer the parasites they host to their victims and because the light reflected by the scales repel them, they would not target a fish making the fish safe from parasite infection.
But why it needs to have fins too?
Fins provide a maneuvering ability for fishes to avoid the parasites thus parasites will have a hard time to catch on but also fins create the necessary water-friction to blast Hooking Worms, and other parasites, loose from its body.
What other factors make the fish with scales and fins cleaner than the rest of the creatures in the sea?
Clean fishes have Gill Covers or Opercula that protects the gill chamber. Parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi will have a hard time entering the body of the fish through gills because of this. And also, Clean fishes have a more efficient digestive system because they have “Pyloric Caeca” which is a finger like a sac that increases surface area for absorption and also a lengthened, folded small intestine that further increases the absorptive surface for digesting foods. Notice that they are like cud-chewing animals that have good digestive system that enables them to digest their food properly.
Another similarity of these fish to other clean animals is that they are not Scavengers!
According to Encyclopedia Britannica;
"In fact, many clean fish are plankton feeders (herring, pilchard, sardine, menhaden, anchovies, shad) or fish eaters (salmon, tuna, mackerel, whiting, hake). Some are mollusk eaters (cod, haddock) and redfish eat shrimp. Flounders and Halibut eat most types of food."
(Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 9, page 352, Copyright 1973).
So now, let's talk about how clean are the clean birds!
First of all Clean Birds are vegetarians like the other clean animals. And this eating habit prevents different kinds of disease, parasites, bacteria, and viruses to be transmitted to their bodies. Clean birds also have something in common to clean cud-chewing animals. They also have microbes in their stomachs that digest cellulose! And last but not the least, they also have good digestive system which consist of three stomachs, the Crop, the Gizzard, and another Section of stomach between the two and like the other clean animals, these aids in proper digestion of their food.
Notice the similarities, Amazing right? All clean animals that God allowed the Israelites to eat all have something in common and this is not coincidence because God knows and God cares!
What makes these Insects clean?
Can you guess why? It is because they are also vegetarians! And not only that, they are also selective about what they eat. Can you believe that they only eat the plants and vegetables that human eats? They eat the crops of the farmers namely grains and some vegetables which we also eat. Some of the specific examples of these insects are the Locust and Grasshopper which farmers treat as pests that destroys their crops. Who would knew that we can benefit from these farm pests, So when you see one, maybe try eating them as snacks!
In fact, John the Baptist's Foods are locusts as the Bible says;
"John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey."
Matthew 3:4 NIV
Another important characteristic of these insects is that they also have a crop, gizzard, gastric caeca and a stomach, which, aids in a more efficient digestion like clean birds, and animals.
And last but not the least, they also chew their foods! They have so much in common with those animals that the God considered clean.
According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica;
"Also like their clean counterparts in the beast category, they Chew their food with two powerful grinding jaws called Mandibles. All of the insects that Pierce and Suck are unclean! A person can't help but compare their chewing mandibles with the Broad, Flat teeth of Ruminants that are constantly engaged in Chewing vegetation! But unclean dogs Gulp down their food! "Snakes swallow their food whole.... Sharp, pointed teeth, poorly adapted for chewing, generally characterize meat eaters such as Snakes, Dogs, and Cats"
(Encyc. Brit. 1974, 5:784)
These are the 7 Things that All Clean Animals have in Common;
- They have extra digestive organs to aid in better digestion of their foods
- They have protective mechanism or parts that prevent the parasites from entering their bodies
- They are not scavengers or carnivores
- They are Herbivores
- The animals and insects chew their foods
- Good bacterias and enzymes digest their foods
- They are Healthy!
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