Hippocrates was a Greek physician who lived and practiced medicine in the fourth century before Christ. Today he is reffered to as The Father of Medicine. Many of his discoveries about medicine are still relevant today.
I suppose nearly everyone has heard what I think is his most famous quote. He made the quote to groups of aspiring physicans. He told them, “First, do no harm.”
Another quote from him is not as widely known, but one of the most relevant to me. He said, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.”
I didn’t know much about Hippocrates until about a year and a half ago when I seriously started researching health problems that Sandra and I were having. Sandra has had type 2 diabetes for several years, and I had been diagnosed with severe gout. Serious enough that it could be fatal if I did not lose 100 pounds and change my diet and start exercising more.
I immediately started the hard journey and research. I learned what Hippocrates taught about food. Then in my research, I discovered that many other doctors going back hundreds of years taught the same thing about the corollary of proper diet and good health.
I could make a very convincing argument about good eating habits being taught in the Bible l, and that one need look no further. But I won’t cite the many references I could give you today.
But I will say that many of these quotes are as far back as the beginning of the Old Testament. Remember God’s laws on certain dietary restrictions He placed on the Jews? Most orthodox Jews still follow those restrictions today.
I have read many studies about the health differences between those who follow those old restrictions and those who don’t. Some of these studies followed large groups of people for many years and used double-blind studies to ensure the accuracy of the results. In every study I read, the group of people following God’s restrictions of diet were far healthier than the group who ate anything they wanted to eat.
Thirty something years ago, when I was pastoring in Malvern, Arkansas, I met a man who had converted from Judiasm to Christianity. He had once been a Rabbi. He told me that he and his wife were working with an international organization called Jews for Jesus.
He asked me if he and his wife could come to our church and perform the Jewish Sedar meal in our fellowship hall where we could set up a table to display all the foods eaten in that sacred tradition? I told him, sure, I think it would be an excellent learning experience for our congregation. I even invited the community to come. I thought we could get some extra attendance as the meal was scheduled for a Wednesday night. I was right. The fellowship hall was packed.
The ex-Rabbi and his wife did an excellent job of explaining why each part of the meal was so important. Toward the end of the meeting, he even explained why God set up those dietary restrictions in the first place. The short answer was to keep the people healthier.
For most of my life, I assumed those restrictions had been done away with. I’m not sure now, though. Most people who believe the restrictions have been done away with cite several scriptures in the Bible proving their belief. Most point to Peter’s experience while praying on a rooftop. He saw a vision coming down from heaven and a voice saying, eat these things. It was a sheet that had all kinds of unclean animals in it. Peter argued that he had never eaten anything common or unclean. The voice told him that nothing that God made was common or unclean.
But I think now that reference by God dealt with people more than animals. I’ve read and re-read that story in the Book of Acts over a hundred times. It was soon after Peter had the vision that two men were looking for him to go preach the Gospel to a man named Cornellious. He was an Italian: a gentile. But even though Peter was reluctant to go with them, he went. The house was packed with Gentiles. Peter preached to them and they responded and accepted Christ. Peter proclaimed that surely God was not a respector of persons.
The day my doctor told me how serious my gout was, Sandra and I immediately started our diet together. She told me that she knew she was overweight, too, and that we would diet together and change our lifestyles and help each other.
My doctor told us in his office that he had had gout most of his life too. He said he had to lose 60 pounds and it took him two years to do it. Sandra asked him how he lost that much weight. He said first thing he did was to quit eating any red meat. That was beef, pork and even lamb.
So Sandra and I both quit eating red meat – cold turkey. Several months later after I had lost about 60 pounds. I asked my doctor if I could ever eat a steak again? He told me I could, but don’t make a hog of yourself. Just eat a small portion, maybe 4 ounces, and don’t eat one too often. He said red meat will always be unhealthy, even if you don’t have gout. So Sandra and I mostly eat chicken, turkey or salmon.
As I continued my research on the Jewish meal, I read exactly why pork is so unhealthy for people. And I used to love it. Especially bar-be-qued ribs. But now I pledge I’ll never eat another peice of pork. Same for catfish, which had been my favorite fish all my life. It causes your body to have much inflamation among other bad side affects.
I am pointing out these good and bad foods – what to eat and what not to eat in my forthcoming book. I thought I would be through writing it by now but have had some serious disruptions on getting it finished. I’ll let you know publication date when I know.
If you are serious about getting in better health, do your own research. You can’t depend on your doctor to do it for you. You must be your own advocate.
Hopefully you can do as Sandra and I did after all our health studies. I have my gout under control with very low uric acid levels in my blood. And Sandra has learned just through following a healthy diet what to do that got her blood sugar down from an average of over 136 to an average now of 90. We’ve read that one can reverse type 2 diabetes and even quit taking Metforman. We’re working on that now.
Yes, it’s a little painful at first, changing your diet and lifestyle, but it worth it in the long run. I know you can do it – if you really make up your mind to do so.