Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: nutrition

Food for the hungry

Back when we were living in southwestern Ontario we made the trip back to Saskatchewan every two years. The trip was 3,000km and took 3 days each way. The first two days we tried to get an early start and got our meals at fast food restaurants to save time. When we stopped for gas we would load up with pop and snacks to keep us going. By the third day, we were all tired of fast food and junk food and knew we had to stop for one real meal before we got to our destination.

We still enjoy fast food and junk food, more often than we should if truth be told. But we know that we cannot live on a diet like that. Even fast food restaurants are advertising healthier meals, with more fresh, natural ingredients and fewer additives.

But there are still far too many churches out there trying to feed their congregations with fast food spirituality. They offer contemporary music that is initially fresh and attractive but provides very little nourishment. Then they add “seeker-friendly” messages that intrigue but don’t satisfy. And they wonder how they can keep their young people from wandering off in search of the world’s amusements.

People want to be fed, need to be fed. Preachers need to spend less time studying psychology and more time in deep study of the Word of God, less time trying to adapt marketing methods to evangelism and more time in prayer, less time trying to get new people into the church and more time feeding the souls of those who are already in.

That last point may seem counter-intuitive, most of us agree that churches today need to be more evangelistic in their home communities than they have been in past generations. But – the preacher is not the church, the people are. Feed the people, show them how to find solid spiritual nutrition for themselves, then let them invite others to the banquet.

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

Why some fats are healthier than others

Years ago nutritional experts told us that cholesterol was the main culprit in heart disease and that we should try to eliminate it from our diet. The food industry happily jumped on the bandwagon, rejigging the formulation of their products and telling us how heart healthy their new products were.

Then the nutritionists said, no, cholesterol isn’t the main problem, saturated fats are far more dangerous. Once again, the food industry, the diet industry and dear old Aunt Grace took it upon themselves to get us to stop eating so much saturated fat.

Wrong again. Now they tell us that the real culprit is too much Omega 6 oils in our diet. Our body requires a roughly two to one ration of Omega 6 to Omega 3. Too much Omega 6 in the diet reduces the ability of the body to convert the ALA (Alpha linolenic Acid) Omega 3 in plant foods to the EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) forms of Omega 3 that protect us from diseases. An elevated intake of Omega 6 is associated with an increase of inflammatory diseases. The list of such diseases includes: heart disease; obesity; type 2 diabetes; macular degeneration; irritable bowel syndrome; rheumatoid arthritis; asthma; cancer; autoimmune diseases and psychiatric disorders.

The problem is that most of the oils that we have turned to in our stampede to eliminate saturated fatty acids from our diet contain mostly Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids. Such oils include corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil and sesame oil. Soybean oil has a ration of seven to one Omega 6 to Omega 3. Even olive oil is high in Omega 6. Canola oil runs at the ideal two to one ratio.

Flaxseed oil has four times as much Omega 3 as Omega 6, which is why eggs from chickens fed a diet containing flaxseed have the ideal two to one ratio in their yolks.

Fish oils have mostly Omega 3. In addition, the Omega 3 in fish oils is already in the form of EHA and DHA which can be immediately used by the body. Since I have suffered from macular degeneration, I now take an Omega 3 supplement with the highest DHA number that I can find to reduce future deterioration.

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