If we are sent to earth to continue our progression in becoming like our Father in Heaven who is omniscient, omnipotent and self-sustaining, then why do we spend two-thirds of our time here in activities that we won’t be doing in eternity: eating and sleeping? And as much as God desires that we be happy and healthy, current statistics indicate that 95% of people in the world struggle with one to five health problems.1 More than one out of three adults are overweight while more than half suffer from insomnia worldwide.2 In the US, only three percent of adults live a healthy lifestyle.3
“All things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.” DC 59:15-21
“And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.” DC 104:15
“And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate” Alma 46:40
Since God wants us to be happy and healthy and has provided the resources by which we can be, but we are not, there must be some connections that we are missing. For even among those that have the fulness of the gospel, the percentage of healthy, faithful Latter-day Saints does not match the divine promises or desires nor creates a direct connection between our health and our faithfulness. The prophet Joseph was clear that our health status doesn’t necessarily indicate our righteousness or lack of it.4 So what are we missing? A scripture search on health finds at least three variables linked to divine health promises: Diet, attitude, and obedient life style. But even then, some commandments seem more tied to health than others such as tithing, sabbath faithfulness, temple worship, etc. Here Isaiah is instructing on fasting that provides care for those suffering (the second great commandment).
“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.” Isaiah 58:8
“And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.” Amen. DC 89:18-21
The phrase, “these sayings” contextually refers to our diet, the problem with which, will be discussed later in this article. The other variable here is “walking in obedience to the commandments.” That is always a work in progress as we hopefully rely on the enabling power of Christ’s atonement whereby, He promises to make us perfect and reveals that is the only way perfection can come.5
In the discussion of diet in the Word of Wisdom, is the necessity of eating with “thanksgiving.” Our attitude, when eating, can then be added as a variable.6 Our sense of gratitude is perhaps more important than we have given attention. An attitude of gratitude is reflected in our willingness to live and constantly renew our covenant relationship with the Lord.
For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily (speaking of the sacrament), eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 1 Corinthians 11:29-30
Even anciently, these variables were connected to the health of faithful Israel.
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Prov. 3:1-8
There seems to have always been some kind of divine dietary instruction, though it always was used to teach principles beyond food or even obedience. The Edenic command about fruit was certainly symbolic of more than nutrients or chemicals. The Law of Moses was elaborately symbolic and even used to outwardly symbolize, in the physical body, the effect of sin on the unseen soul.7 It also seemed to be used to keep the children of Israel separated from, and identifiable to, the “world,” as is the effect of The Word of Wisdom. The timing of this dispensational instruction was purposefully given for a set of latter-day circumstances in order to preserve the agency of the saints during the all-important restoration of all things and the accompanying conspiring oppositional forces.
Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation—DC 89:4
Yet, with all the scriptural evidence that God values our health and happiness, it also shows that He values our “becoming” as the primary purpose for our mortality. Hence a combination of trials and mortal opposition seems to always include health challenges.
“And whosoever among you are sick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food, and that not by the hand of an enemy. And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me. Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection. And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them; And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter. And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.” DC 42:43-48
It is evident that getting sick, even chronically, won’t block our exaltation. The possession of a spiritual gift seems to be the variable. Since all gifts can be sought and acquired,8 sickness seems to serve as a motivator. Faith is the essential and basic power of creation and progression. Its absence seems more critical than suffering or even death!
Elder Gene R. Cook shared the story of his own discovery with a potentially fatal diagnosis that over several years resulted in his obtaining the gift of healing, by which he was made whole. This section 42 guided his earnest efforts and reliance on the priesthood.9
Since the whole world seems to be sick, it is safe to say that the motivation to find the individual keys to personal health are pressing, because we see a myriad of industries and organizations devoted to both health and unfortunately, the dollar that selling potions will bring. If the two variables of personal faithfulness and a thankful attitude are in place, the variable of diet remains overwhelming.
Since most credible research is focused on that which is profitable, the non-patentable health resources from nature are just beginning to be carefully explored. Much of what we call health care is, in reality, sickness care, from which we have all benefitted. But, “adapted to the capacity of the weak and weakest” indicates that we are expected to find dietary and life-style solutions in the preventative efforts to enjoy health? The complexity does seem daunting!
For example, current genetic research has grown to include epigenetics. This is a study that has found that genes have a kind of switch that can be turned on or off by many environmental and lifestyle factors including diet.10 The complexity that this adds to one’s efforts to identify which foods are personally sustaining and which are harmful is exponential. Genes instruct our bodies to make enzymes which act like keys in the millions of chemical reactions that take place in our systems every day. It seems more and more appropriate to accept that one man’s food is another’s poison. Additionally, we are designed so that many nutrients act properly, but only when in balanced combination.11 How are we to ever sift through all the variables to find what works for our own personal diet? Fortunately, God speaks in principles and then customizes in personal revelatory specifics. Note those key verses at the beginning of the Word of Wisdom:
To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days–Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. DC 89:2-3
Were we to extrapolate the principles, we might find fewer debates over modern changing specifics and much individualization through personal revelation. A few of those principles include:
- Be wary of conspiratorial profit-motives that will drive some consumer production, research, and marketing. V4
- Mind altering, addictive chemicals should not be consumed except for small quantities for special divinely designated purposes. V5
- Some herbs (plants) are not wholesome for the use of man. V8, 10
- “All wholesome herbs (plants) God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man” v10
- Vegetables, fruits, and herbs have an ideal season for consumption. Perhaps this refers to both highest nutritional content and seasonal timing for key nutrients. e.g. citrus is harvested during the winter months of highest vitamin C need.
- Meat is to be used in specific circumstances and then only sparingly perhaps due to the sanctity of life. V12-13
- Grains, fruits, nuts, roots, and legumes are good food.
Unfortunately, the dollar motive has driven farming towards quantity and speed instead of nutrition and resource preservation. To get the same nutritional value of one apple in 1950, you would have to eat 26 or more today, for example.12 This has become the mantra of the food supplement industry, and for good reason. But, caution from principle #1 must again be noted. Even with the best research and extraction techniques, recent findings have discovered the complexity of the body’s chemistry as mentioned above. Some have concluded that food is still the only reliable nutrition where nature includes correct vitamin and mineral combinations in a matrix of fiber and microbiome.
Dietary Supplements versus Foods.
Since there can be potent effects of food-based nutrients on detoxification pathways, it would be best for the average patient to follow, as indicated above, a mixed, complex, and whole-foods diet. Additionally, dietary supplements may be a helpful adjunct in patients in which the practitioner has information about the patient’s genetic variability, so that nutrients can be tailored accordingly. Without a full understanding of a patient’s SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), it becomes difficult to make accurate assessments about nutrients and dosing.”13
I can’t help but again extol some of the products carefully endorsed by Meridian editors, Scot and Maurine. Both Miracle Detox discussed in an earlier article and a new comer, Cardio Miracle (https://meridianmag.wpengine.com/an-lds-mans-brush-with-death-opens-up-new-health-hope-for-everyone/; https://meridianmag.wpengine.com/nobel-prize-winning-discovery-reveals-the-hidden-cause-of-age-related-disease/; https://meridianmag.wpengine.com/your-brain-and-the-miracle-molecule/;). Scot endorses Cardio; because of the tremendous changes that the nitric oxide formulation brought to his personal health challenges. I have been using Cardio Miracle for over two months only partly because of my own studies over the last several years on nitric oxide. And, it is noteworthy that using it has ruined my afternoon naps. I go all day with little fatigue.
I recently went through the pain of packing up and moving…by U-Haul. I couldn’t have done it without the help of our wards ministering hands. Even with that gracious angelic help, I expected to suffer endless fatigue and achiness but didn’t. The conversion and elimination of the normal metabolic waste products of such exertion was facilitated by the Cardio Miracle so that I had little lactic acid buildup that otherwise would have disabled me for days. My willingness, however, to put this supplement to the personal test was based on more than my age-diminished amino acid – l-arginine production that stimulates the nitric oxide production in the body. I had already successfully done that with another product years before. But this one also dealt with the primary element in all disease processes; inflammation! I was also repelled by what seems as a high price. Then I noticed that I could stop buying four other supplements that I was taking so, in the end, I was saving money.
My question is always, “How does God meet a dietary or health necessity?” Are there foods or exercises that provide nitric oxide stimulating responses in the body? There is no question that this gas is necessary in so many metabolic pathways and at the cellular level for optimal health and performance. But, have God’s resources been again compromised by conspiring men, that we need supplementation? The good news is that there are nature-provided solutions to our human need, and with age, the need for increased dietary intake accelerates. Finding sufficient quality food and then consuming sufficient quantities becomes the challenge. It is precisely what the formulators of Cardio Miracle have done; they have taken those whole foods, in careful combinations to provide all the co-factors needed. Rather than using extracts of the known active ingredients like so many other supplement companies have done. They have relied on the divine formulator and used whole food ingredients when possible. Here is the list from their label:14
At first, I challenged the Cardio Miracle formulator, John B. Hewlett, over a couple of the ingredients used in the current formula. He explained the five-year process he had pursued over the previous years, and the three formula revisions and enhancements he had already incorporated at significant cost which included one of the changes I recommended.
We have now spent several additional visits and hours reviewing my research and suggestions from five decades of treating patients, researching nutritional ingredients and my personal experience. John has since returned to his manufacturer, chemists, and nutritional advisors, has researched the new information, and is on track to make additional improvements to this coming summer’s updated formula. The current Cardio Miracle formulation I believe is superior to any I have researched and compared, and my personal results and that of others I respect greatly have been outstanding.
The Creator’s master formulations from natural plants, herbs, minerals, and food sources are the pursuit of him, who I believe is one of the divine instruments for these last days when “the hearts of men” are failing them.15
A short list from the topical guide reminds us that health, however, comes from obeying both natural and divine principles:
- they that wait upon the Lord … renew their strength, Isa. 40:31.
- Fasting – thine health shall spring forth speedily, Isa. 58:8.
- Covenant Relationship -For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord. Jer. 30:17.
- Plants/herbs – God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, Alma 46:40.
- Manage energies – Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength, D&C 10:4.
- If sick nourished with all tenderness, with herbs D&C 42:43.
- Food – to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul, D&C 59:19.
- Proper amount and time of sleep – your bodies and your minds may be invigorated, D&C 88:124.
1 “Over 95% of the world’s population has health problems, with over a third having more than five ailments.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2015.Jun 8, 2015. Science Daily › releases › 2015/06
Researchers analyzed information on about 300 diseases and conditions — everything from acne and PMS to chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes — and more than 2,300 disease-related consequences, in people in 188 countries.
Overall, just 4.3 percent of people had no health problems, the researchers found. The likelihood of having any disease or condition increased with age: In developed countries, about 64 percent of kids under age 5 had a health problem in 2013, compared with 99.97 percent of adults ages 80 and older. https://www.livescience.com/51122-world-health-problems.html
3 Study: Less Than 3 Percent of Americans Live a ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ – The Atlantic Mar 23, 2016 · Here’s another bummer of a statistic to toss on the pile: Less than 3 percent of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle,” according to a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/03/less-than-3-percent-of-americans-live-a-healthy-lifestyle/475065/
4 It is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments of Man also whilst the wicked suffer or all flesh is subject to suffer, and “the righteous shall hardly escape: ” still many of the saints will escape, for the just shall live by faith; yet many of the righteous shall fall a prey to disease, to pestilence, etc., by reason of the weakness of the flesh, and yet be saved In the Kingdom of God. So that it is an unhallowed principle to say that such and such have transgressed because they have been preyed upon by disease or death, for all flesh is subject to death; and the Savior has said, “judge not, lest ye be judged,” Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch. 1, p. I I
5 Moroni 10:32; 3 Nephi 12:46, 48 Therefore those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled… Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
6 DC 80:11 All these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.
7 The law defined what was to be done when leprosy was suspected. The course of the disease mirrored the course of spiritual decline resulting from sin.
8 DC 46:9-8 seek ye earnestly the best gifts..They are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.
9 Shared in a priesthood leadership session which the author attended in the mid to late 80’s. He had been called as the area president in Mexico and was living there with his family.
10 UofU https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/nutrition/ Nutrition & the Epigenome
The nutrients we extract from food enter metabolic pathways where they are manipulated, modified, and molded into molecules the body can use. One such pathway is responsible for making methyl groups – important epigenetic tags that silence genes.
McGowan P.O., Meaney M.J., Szyf M. (2008). Diet and the epigenetic (re)programming of phenotypic differences in behavior. Brain Research, 1237: 12-24 (subscription required).
Kaati G., Bygren L.O., Pembrey M., Sjostrom M. (2007).Transgenerational response to nutrition, early life circumstances and longevity. European Journal of Human Genetics, 15: 784-790.
Dolinoy D.C., Weidman J.R., Waterland R.A., Jirtle R.L. (2006).Maternal Genistein Alters Coat Color and Protects Avy Mouse Offspring from Obesity by Modifying the Fetal Epigenome. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114:567-572.
Dolinoy D.C., Huang D., Jirtle R.L. (2007).Maternal nutrient supplementation counteracts bisphenol A-induced DNA hypomethylation in early development. PNAS, 104: 13056-13061.
Kucharski R., Maleszka J., Foret S., Maleszka R.Nutritional Control of Reproductive Status in Honeybees via DNA Methylation (2008). Science, 319: 1827-1830 (registration required).
11 Vitamins D, K2, magnesium and calcium are but one example of nutrients that work synergistically and need to be kept in balance. Potassium and sodium are another example.
Unbalanced ratios of nutrients tend to be a side effect of eating a processed food diet, and can be worsened by mega dosing on individual vitamins. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/02/20/vitamins-healing-potential.aspx
12 During that 51-year period (1950-99), potatoes appeared to have lost 47 per cent of their copper, 45 per cent of their iron and 35 per cent of their calcium while carrots showed even bigger declines. Broccoli – a ‘superfood’ rich in micronutrients and cancer-busting antioxidants – suffered an 80 per cent drop in copper while calcium content was a quarter of what it had been in 1940, a pattern repeated in tomatoes. As Thomas pointed out: ‘You would need to have eaten 10 tomatoes in 1991 to have obtained the same copper intake as from one tomato in 1940.’
Last year, a study of 43 vegetables and fruits published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found significant declines for six nutrients (protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron, riboflavin and ascorbic acid) between 1950 and 1999. Comparing old and new figures from the US Department of Agriculture, Donald Davis, author of the University of Texas study, concluded that changes in cultivated varieties, rather than horticulture practices, accounted for the depletion. ‘In those 50 years,’ he said, ‘there have been intensive efforts to breed new varieties that have greater yield, or resistance to pests, or adaptability to different climates – but the dominant effort is for higher yields. New evidence suggests that, if you select for yield, crops grow bigger and faster but they don’t have the ability to make or uptake nutrients at the same rate.’ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2005/may/15/foodanddrink.shopping3
There is considerable evidence that such problems may be related to changes in cultivated varieties, with some high-yielding plants being less nutritious than historical varieties. Several other issues are involved, like changes in farming methods, including the extensive use of chemical fertilizers, as well as food processing and preparation. A 2004 study evaluated Department of Agriculture data for 43 garden crops from 1950 to 1999. The researchers found statistically reliable declines for six nutrients — protein, calcium, potassium, iron and vitamins B2 and C — but no change for seven others. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/15/science/a-decline-in-the-nutritional-value-of-crops.html
Selenium decline is not mentioned in this study but remains a serious concern for human health: “Since the 1970s,’ says Professor Richard Mithen of the IFR, ‘the selenium in our blood plasma has gone down and is currently half the recommended intake. This is very well documented, and we know that selenium levels are very important for maintaining health.’ Deficiency in selenium may be linked to infertility, depression, heart disease and increased risk of some cancers, including prostate, colon, lung and breast cancers.” https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2005/may/15/foodanddrink.shopping3
13 Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism Volume 2015, Article ID 760689, 23 pages https://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/760689
Modulation of Metabolic Detoxification Pathways Using Foods and Food-Derived Components: A Scientific Review with Clinical Application
Romilly E. Hodges1 and Deanna M. Minich 2,3
1 University of Bridgeport, 126 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 07748, USA 2Institute for Functional Medicine, 505 S. 336th Street, Suite 500, Federal Way, WA 98003, USA 3University of Western States, 2900 NE 132nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97230, USA
Various studies point to the advantageous effects of whole foods, and food combinations, versus specific bioactive compounds.
These data suggest that the doses found in whole foods may be more beneficial than supplements at supraphysiological doses. In fact, it may well be their weak prooxidant effects that stimulate Nrf2 inducers’ favorable antioxidant responses .
As noted above, supplementation (above levels normally consumed through diet) with certain phytochemicals may have inhibitory effects on Nrf2 activation,
Therefore, at this time, a dietary pattern favoring whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods and the removal or reduction of toxic substances in one’s environment is a two- prong approach that would seem to have the best overarching scientific underpinning.
Therefore, the resulting clinical takeaway might be to encourage patients to follow a mixed, varied diet, full of different plant-based, whole foods. Smaller amounts of many compounds might be more therapeutic and supportive for biochemical pathways rather than overriding signals derived from high concentrations of nutrients through high-dose supplementation or the repeat, daily ingestion of large quantities of the same food.
15 See Doctrine and Covenants 45:26 And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them…