Here’s a piece of practical advice from the book of Proverbs that you can start using today. It’s the first verse of the 23rd chapter.
📌“When you sit down to eat with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you;”
Proverbs 23:1 NKJV
When I first read this I shifted the comma in my mind.
“When you sit down to eat, with a ruler Consider carefully what is before you;”.
With the comma placed where the translators of the bible put it, the scripture warns us that when we are dining with someone of great power and influence 👑 (as the Message Bible has it), we must mind our manners. As my daughter says “we need to eat dainty” – like pinkies up and small bites and all that.
But that comma, I’m saying though, it moved in my brain. So to me the instruction was to measure. Like with a ruler. Measure everything you’re about to eat. Consider carefully what you are putting in your mouth. See, the word of God is ever-pregnant. He is always birthing new knowledge for your life in His scriptures.
So I was determined to measure. But that’s not new advice in and of itself.
The key was zeroing in on exactly HOW to measure my food. Around the time I was inspired to start this ministry by taking action in my own food life, I watched the documentary FedUp. It was through that film that the Holy Spirit enlightened me of the deception and showed me the right path to take, which is echoed in Proverbs 23:3:
Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. (NIV)
Through persistent indoctrination by the media and the diet industry, people have been
lead to measure their food by counting calories. This is NOT going to help you over the long run, because (to use an example from the documentary): 100 calories in a handful of almonds will not affect your body the same way as 100 calories in a 12 oz glass of coke.
The “calories in calories out” mentality may work for a few people for a short time who have the time to ALSO measure and manage how many calories they are burning in exchange, but for most of us that is a ludicrous undertaking. In addition, remember that your body is the beautiful design of the Creator of the Universe. It is far too complex for just one thing, just calorie counting, to fix what’s broken.
So where should you start to measure? Sugar (cue rolling eyes). This is that sneaky cherished sin everybody knows they need to check but nobody really wants to cut off.
You don’t want to do it. But you need to do it.
To quickly define, the sugar we are targeting is that sweet tasting simple carbohydrate usually extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets that is added to the lion’s share of processed foods and is even a constituent in some artificial sweeteners. It naturally occurs in many foods including fruits and vegetables, honey and maple syrup. This is where you start to apply your ruler.
Mercifully, sugars in whole, fresh fruit doesn’t count, as they are in God’s perfect packaging. Each of those naturally occurring sugar molecules is shackled to a fiber molecule so it will move through your system at the pace God intended it to. 🍒🍌🍉🍇🍓🍊🍐🍎🍅😍
Your target is the “free sugars”.
It’s those free sugars we must take control of in our food lives!
Sugar content per serving is noted in grams on the nutrition panels of packaged foods. While the USDA recommends up to 75g of free sugars a day, this is far too much. That level was decided by the USDA most likely to protect the profits of the food industry and the sugar barons, whom the Department of Agriculture both regulates and markets for. Conflict of interest much?
On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that you consume no more than about 25 grams a day. That’s the standard I set for myself back in May 2015 and still continue to adhere to for myself and my family.
In addition to this, realize that refined starches are no different from sugar once they enter your body. This is another place to apply your ruler. These include anything made from white flour (breads and pastas🍞🍝), white rice, and many starchy root vegetables like potatoes and dasheen. They, too, are simple carbohydrates that can cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver damage and many other of the so called lifestyle diseases that prevail today.
So I embarked on this Daniel 1 way of life. No more of the kings delicacies for me!
It was much rougher than I had imagined it would be!
I found that 25 grams is so very little compared what I was accustomed to eating in a diet I had considered to be relatively healthy! At the beginning, my mood felt a little down for a few days. I got headaches. I was cranky. Withdrawing from that sweet, sweet legal narcotic was awful! The worst part in this unfair battle is that the enemy is coming at you from all sides. Just try to walk down a New York City commercial block and see how much temptation your senses are exposed to – pictures of pizza🍕, sandwiches and doughnuts🍩, smells pumping out of restaurant exhaust vents ♨️- it’s an onslaught of delicacies from all sides!
But I knew my vision. My slim bitmoji was on deck. 💃🏿I was determined to use my body to glorify God. So I used my “ruler”. I learned that a tablespoon of honey contains 16g of free sugars and a teaspoon of table sugar is worth 4g so my morning cup of tea had to count☕️. I read every nutrition panel on every item I had in the cupboards and the fridge, as well as in the supermarket while making my choices. Little by litttle, I
systematically replaced and in some cases eliminated the things I was eating and drinking and giving my family. Yes indeed, some of it ended up in the garbage and down the drain. I replaced white pasta with pastas made from grains other than wheat (chick pea, quinoa, brown rice) or ones made from sprouted wheat when I could find it. I started eating sprouted grain breads🌱 (Thank you, Food for Life) and drinking my tea with no sweetener at all. I eliminated juice – even 100% juice (when they are pressed from the fruit, those juice sugars are freed from their fiber shackles so they are harmful as well) and any other sweet drinks. Stevia – I use SweetLeaf, it tastes delicious – now sweetens some of my drinks and foods in moderation, and I’m learning about other natural sweeteners that don’t trigger a glycemic response, like xylitol and coconut sugar. I even replaced our toothpaste.
Eventually, I began to strive for veganism as I learned the unnecessary harm we cause our bodies by over-consuming animal flesh and dairy. This helped me continue to reduce my intake of simple starches, as meat and cheese often are accompanied by them in our most deliciously harmful comfort foods – burgers, eggs, cheese and cold cuts on white breads, french fries and chips that accompany them, pizza with doughy crusts, fried chicken with flour batter, macaroni pie – the list of deceptive delicacies is so long! But I found that the list of what I SHOULD eat instead is actually longer, because it’s God’s rich bounty and it is abundant indeed!🙏🏿
My proverbial ruler became my best weapon on this crusade. I carefully consider sugars, simple starches, and harmful additives on the negative side and I measure abundant amount of fruits and vegetables on the positive side. I lost 20 pounds in the first month. After maintaining for another couple of months, I soon continued to see steady decreases in weight. At present I am more than 40 lbs lighter and have gone from a size 12 to size 8 skinny jeans. More importantly, I was blessed to donate a pristine kidney to my father a few months ago, and my blood work results and blood pressure are perfect every time.
You’re wondering if I also exercised more, aren’t you? The answer is no! I live an active life in general with two small children in the countryside now, but I don’t exercise any more than I have in the past. In fact, I do less of my “on purpose” working out (running, yoga and pilates are my favorites) at this point than I have in the past 10 years of my life, just because of shifts in my lifestyle. Nonetheless, after a 30+ year struggle with my weight, my body is finally a living sacrifice, a visual testimony that glorifies God inside and out. 🙋🏾