"THE RABBI'S DIET" - SOME PRACTICAL WISDOM FROM THE RABBI FOR HEALTHY EATING :
As a Messianic Rabbi, I am a spiritual teacher, and I feel that I have to focus on teaching spiritual truths, and not materialistic things like giving you advice about the stock market or how to prepare for a hurricane. In any case, there is such a thing as spiritual food for the body. And although spiritual food and material food are not the same, still, I feel I should have some help to offer in this area of diet. Because it is important, and people want answers. I have noticed that so many people today suffer an array of physical problems. I believe that much of it is connected to unhealthy diet and being overweight. The two usually go together. We can heal the sick and raise the dead through prayer. I believe so. But there's nothing wrong with making wise dietary choices either. This must go beyond just eating kosher, which in essence means no pork or shellfish. Smart, but a healthy diet goes beyond that.
So, years ago, I started looking into the matter of whether there is such a thing as a "biblical diet," and I discovered not only that there indeed is such a diet, for the sake of our health, but also, I lost about 45 lbs. when I starting eating that way, and I've been able to keep my weight in the ball park of the 170's, and sometimes a little under, which is where I was when I was in my 20's. I call it "The Rabbi's Diet." I admit, I have had my ups and downs with it, and I do not always follow it. And when I don't follow it, my weight goes up. Then I follow it again, and it comes back down. So, yeah, you may catch me at oneg stuffing my face. But when I do follow this diet, I always lose weight, without much effort. And, I believe it is the biblical model for healthy eating and for keeping fit and trim for life.
Note that although I call it "The Rabbi's Diet," it is not about holiness. You can eat this way and keep the weight off, but still be prideful, and suffer from greed, lust, jealousy or any of the other things that destroy a person. After all, it's your heart that counts, and whatever abides in there will determine your life. That's why it's not what goes in the mouth, but what comes out that destroys you, because what comes out is coming out of your heart.
And, yes, I do keep kosher, biblically-speaking, and I suggest you should not eat pork or shellfish or any of the major reptiles. However, know this - you can keep kosher and still be overweight and unhealthy. If you don't eat right and fail to exercise, eating kosher won't solve it. In the same manner, you can be really holy, but still be totally overweight and unhealthy. May I suggest to you, why not integrate your spiritual condition as if body and mind were one whole?
Regular exercise is also very biblical, especially walking. People walked everywhere in biblical days. Not so today. Hit the pavement every chance you get. There's nothing I enjoy more than jogging and/or walking to be alone with the Lord and to get some great exercise. It is essential.
But when it comes to the issue of what to eat, I must say up front, with "The Rabbi's Diet," you can always deviate and make a few exceptions here and there. Do not go on a diet to make yourself miserable. The bible says, "the Joy of the Lord is our strength." Any diet should remember that principle first and foremost. To give you an example, one basic rule of "The Rabbi's Diet" is that you should never eat at night, but you should make dinner your last meal. On the other hand, go ahead and partake at Oneg. You'll be okay. Just don't gorge yourself. And don't do it again Sat. night and Tues. night. So, if you see me eating at Oneg, just know that I'm making one of those "exceptions." I'm the Rabbi, I can do that. And here's the good news: So can you. Just don't do it a lot, or then it's not an exception anymore, it's the rule. Okay?
Seriously, before you proceed with "The Rabbi's Diet," you must remember to always make room for celebrating life's precious moments. Don't let your diet stand in the way. Shabbat is one of those times. There will also be family gatherings, birthdays, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, and festivals. Celebrate life. Yeshua did. And so did His followers. But those occasions are the exception, not the rule. If you take this wisdom to heart, you can follow this diet for the rest of your life, and never miss out on anything.
So, here we go. Now for the "meat and potatoes." Not really though. Never eat meat and potatoes together . . . ok, I'm getting ahead of myself here. The following are four basic principles of "The Rabbi's Diet":
I. Principle #1 - P'ri. Fruit. Eat fruit! Raw fruit. Whether it is from the vine, the tree, the ground or whatever, fruit should be the #1 food in your diet. Eat lots of vegetables too, but fruit should be #1. Eat all the fruit you desire, and eat tons of it! And eat it every single day. However, this is crucial to the success of this diet: Don't eat fruit with anything else! When you eat fruit, eat ONLY fruit. Fruit makes a delicious meal that is overflowing with energy and nutrition. It is best to eat fruit in the morning as the first meal. If not, make sure at least 4 hours has past since your last meal.
II. Principle #2 - "Lechem" - Bread. Bread is a symbol of Life in the bible. Yeshua said, "This is the bread that came down from heaven so that a man may eat of it and have life eternal." Just as the Spirit of the Living Messiah is the staff of Life, so too, following that same paradigm, for our natural bodies, bread is the staff of life.
Why fruit? The bible tells us that God created and filled the earth with food for us to eat. The beginning of the bible says in plain language: "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you." (Gen. 1:29). When you eat fruit, in its natural state, NOT cooked or heated, you are filling your body with life. Fruit detoxifies, energizes, and stabilizes your body. There is no food like it. Fruit is God's superfood given to man for his vitality and well-being. That is why when God put man in the garden, he told him: "Of every tree of the garden, thou mayest freely eat." (Gen. 2:16).
Fruit and vegetables are so good for you that you could live on nothing but them if you had to. In fact, many people believe that God created Man to be a vegetarian. While it is clearly true that Mankind were originally vegetarians, I do not necessarily agree that we should be vegetarians. It is certainly a healthy way to eat, but not mandated. However, we should keep in mind that eating the flesh of an animal involves the taking of a life, and, therefore, eating meat should not be viewed as something "willy-nilly," but something that we do occasionally, instead of regularly. Meat is not supposed to be a major part of our diets. My personal goal is to limit my meat consumption to about three or four times per week, and red meat only about once per week.
I note that people only ate fruit and vegetables, and did not eat meat at all until after the flood. After the flood, God told Noah: "Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4"Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.… " (Gen. 9:3,4). So, people began eating flesh. Before this time, people were living 800-900 years. After the flood, the average lifespan went way down. This is probably due to a variety of factors, but eating flesh is no doubt connected to it.
I reiterate, eat tons of raw fruit. However, there is one major mistake that people make with fruit - they eat it together with other foods. Do NOT eat fruit with other kinds of foods. When you eat fruit, eat it as a meal of its own. Don't mix it with other foods. This way, it is absorbed quickly in your stomach and goes right to work in your bloodstream to give your body what it desires. That's why it's best to eat it first meal of the day, when your stomach is empty. It gives you a rush of energy that lasts all day. It is very easy for your body to digest, which means you won't feel tired around noon time, as you do when you eat a heavy breakfast, especially one consisting of meat and bread, mixed together with fruit. Fruit can also make a great lunch or dinner. Eat fruit for one of your meals every day.
The one exception, if you must mix fruit with other foods, mix it with vegetables. But nothing else. If you eat fruit by itself, or only with vegetables, you will feel such a rush of energy at all times, you will not be hungry, or tired, your health will be advanced, your immunity will be increased, and you will lose weight because you won't be eating as much. This will not work if you eat fruit as a dessert after a steak dinner, or have a bowl of cereal with a big bowl of fruit. Eat fruit, all you want, but only eat it by itself.
So you must eat grains. Don't buy into the idea that carbs are bad for you. The low-carb diets are good for emergency weight loss, but for long-term eating, they are not good. Your body is not created to eat nothing but meat and vegetables. "Hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz," means "He brings forth bread from the earth." The King of the Universe brings forth bread because He wants us to eat it.
Olive oil was used to anoint the furniture in the Temple, and to anoint the Kings and leaders with authority, and to heal the sick. It was eaten with bread, and also the bread was made with oil. It was used in cosmetics, to light people's homes, and so many other important functions. Olive Oil was a huge part of the life of the bible, and one of the reasons why the land of Israel was a gem in the eyes of the Greeks and the Romans, who prized the Israeli crop of olive oil.
Hope this helps you to live healthy, happy, and be filled with the Joy of the Lord! Shalom in Yeshua's name!