It all started five months after my mom died. My family has had a very unfortunate history with autoimmune diseases. In 2002, my grandmother died of autoimmune liver cirrhosis, and in 2013 my mother also died due to autoimmune liver cirrhosis.Read More
Over the last few decades, discussion of “environmental” issues has increased greatly. Perhaps the most contentious argument has been the reality or not of climate change. Due to the fact that this issue is not really the most important topic needing solving, I have refused to address this in my public presentations. But because of the recent Papal encyclical LAUDATO SI, this has become a pressing issue for many people. But is the crisis real? And is the Catholic Church’s proposed cure worse than the disease? Does Pope Francis have a hidden agenda that affects you and your faith? What is the truth of climate change, the Pope’s solutions, and our response to this issue? I have decided to tackle the science and politics involved and hopefully provide an Adventist perspective to this debate.Read More
Should a Christian have a habit of arriving late to places? Does punctuality have anything to do with representing God? It is possible there are times where maybe we are doing too much during our days, maybe putting too much on our plates?Read More
I learned that the word “psychology” was a taboo word in Adventism when I submitted a book to one of the church’s publishers with the title "Jesus Psychology."Read More
As Adventists, we have an acute awareness of the God’s principles for ideal health, and we believe that, as we draw closer to our redemption, God seeks to more fully restore His image within His people.Read More
War has always been present among different philosophies throughout history, and in the realm of medicine this is certainly no exception. But man can turn to a Source whose passages will enlighten the earnest seeker of truth for a correct understanding of healing methods.Read More
The right arm of the gospel—a phrase commonly heard in Adventist circles—is a work that has been too long neglected and underestimated. In a talk given by Mrs. White in the sanitarium at St. Helena’s chapel, she plainly stated, “There is to be no division between the medical missionary work and the gospel ministry. Medical missionary work is to be to the third angel's message as the right arm to the body. Both are to work in harmony. Then the salvation of the Lord will be revealed” (Sermons and Talks, Volume Two, 141-2). Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we, as Seventh-day Adventists, understand what “medical missionary” work refers to, and what it does not.Read More
The cry often goes out among God’s people, “We must finish the work!” Yes, there are those who are longing to obey that command, but they honestly wonder what what we should do. As we look to our Example, the life of Jesus, we cannot help but notice that He spent more time healing physical needs than preaching. If we are followers in His footsteps, then shall we not do the same?Read More
I knock gently on my patient’s door and hesitantly walk in. After the initial exchange of greetings I carefully state, “Ms. Doe, I have some bad news. The pathology report indicates cancer….” News such as this is every physician’s and patient’s nightmare. To this day, disclosing the “C” (cancer) word both as a physician and as a human being fills me with fear. But is this fear completely founded?
Many of us view the “C” word as a result of hereditary genes, as though we were handed a set of genes by our parents and there is nothing we can do about it. But is that really the case? While it is true that heredity plays a large role in disease, the good news is that new advances in scientific research indicate that we don’t have to be quite so scared hereditary genes as we used to think. Furthermore, this same research indicates that we can not only prevent the big “C” but, in many cases, even treat it with simple dietary changes and moderate exercise. Excitingly, science was not the first to discover these revolutionary principles. God as our Great Physician and Creator advised us of these same principles long ago, both in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy. In our television show Practical Living and in our health lectures, we focus on all eight of God’s perfect health plan. However in the following article, we will primarily focus on nutrition.
The scientific community has for some time noted the benefits of a vegetarian diet in cancer prevention. In fact, in 2012 the largest meta-analysis of multiple different studies indicated over an 18 percent decrease in cancer among vegetarians as opposed to non-vegetarians.(3) With all the positive benefits on cancer prevention noted from a vegetarian diet, many have wondered what role in cancer prevention and treatment a completely plant based or vegan diet plays. This was the basis of the recent National Cancer Institute funded study performed and published by Loma Linda University. In the Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2), the researchers studied over 60,000 people. Controlling for confounders such as smoking, alcohol use and a family medical history of cancer, the researchers discovered that while vegetarian diets do confer a protective role against cancer, veganism confers the greatest decrease in cancer at a 34 percent decrease in cancer from a vegetarian diet alone. This improved cancer protection was noted in both genders but very specifically in prostate cancer and female related cancer including breast, ovarian and cervical cancers.(7)
In response to the AHS-2, many are asking, “Why such a significant decrease in cancer among vegans versus vegetarians?” The answer to this question is the basis of the research performed by Pritikin researchers, a group of concerned scientists and physicians dedicated to discovering the relationship of disease and diet. Their first attempt to answer this question involved taking petri dishes with prostate cancer cells, the “number one” cancer in men, and exposing them to the blood of vegans versus those on a standard American diet. The petri dishes were followed over the course of a year, noting cancer cell growth and programmed cell death or apoptosis. Much to the excitement of the researchers, the prostate cancer cells were significantly affected by both, by a decrease in growth and increased programmed cell death. In fact, the leading researcher Dr. Ornish and his group discovered that a vegan diet decreased cancer growth by nearly 8 times over the standard American Diet.(5) Although these results were phenomenonal, the Pritikin researchers wanted to determine if this same effect could be substantiated over an even shorter time interval and with the most common cancer in women, breast cancer. As such, they took three different breast cancer cell lines including estrogen and progesterone receptor resistant ductal carcinoma, one of the more difficult to treat breast cancers, and exposed them to the blood of non-vegan women. Then, these same participants were then asked and agreed to undergo a two week vegan diet. After only 12 days, the petri dishes were assessed and amazingly there were significant decreases in cancer cell growth and exponential increases in apoptosis (programmed cell death). Imagine that! In just 12 days, one’s blood can be completely altered on a healthy, plant based diet so much so that the body is able to fight off cancer. The exciting news is that this same 10-day interval effect can be seen in numerous other diseases as well.
Pritikin researchers sought to determine what element in the vegan women’s blood was combating the cancer cells. In 2011, the researchers published their results that demonstrated clearly that the hormone involved is Insulin like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). For some time, IGF-1 has been known to promote cancer cell growth and decrease programmed cell death, both clearly substantiated in the article published by Soliman et.al.(2) Combining their research with that of Ngo’s article (4), the Pritikin researchers were able to show that a vegan diet lowered IGF-1 levels even as low as half their Average American omnivore diet level.(4,6) In addition, the researchers discovered that eating a vegan diet not only lowers your current risk of cancer but it also combats years of meat-eating by lowering IGF-1 binding globulin which lowers “old” accumulated IGF-1. This is accomplished by assisting the liver in “binding” up cancer causing IGF-1 and eliminating it through the gastrointestinal tract. Through these two mechanisms, the researchers determined that your body is able to drastically fight cancer in as little as 12 days.
The really good news about combating cancer with a plant based diet is that there are no side effects. In addition, according to numerous studies, the results of a plant-based or vegan diet are far reaching and don’t just decrease your risk of cancer, but help you prevent, treat and defeat diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other health problems. In future articles, we will be examining each of these diseases individually and noting the benefits of a plant based healthy diet among other lifestyle changes. In contrast, research is very clear that meat eating decreases longevity by worsening many of these diseases. Although an improvement to a meat diet, a lacto-oval diet is also not ideal and does not carry the best health results as noted with a vegan or completely plant based diet. According to a recent report by the CDC Nurses’ Health Study, eating the equivalent of one egg per day shortened a females life as much as smoking five cigarettes per day for 15 years.(1) This statistic concerning a lacto-oval diet suggests there is a good, better, and best diet. And, if you are looking for the lowest risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and many, many other diseases, the best is the original healthy plant based diet given in Eden (Genesis 1:29).
The vast and quickly realized benefits of a plant-based vegan diet remind me of the dietary blessings of this same diet as noted in Daniel Chapter 1. Here, Daniel was given 10 days of a plant based diet. At the end of his “10 day Daniel diet trial,” he was rewarded with appearing healthier than all his other omnivore colleagues (Daniel 1:11,15). These results were found exponential, when, at the end of three years of eating a plant based diet, he and his friends were found to be 10 times smarter, and l would postulate based on the above research, 10 times healthier and with perhaps 10 times less risk of cancer, than all of his counterparts (Daniel 1:19,20).
The above exciting research shows that in as little as 12 days--and I would dare to state 10 days--a plant based diet is 8 to 10 times more effective in decreasing our risk of cancer when compared with the average American diet. This knowledge has motivated me to ask my patients to give me 10 days of a plant based vegan diet. Stressing the positive results of improved cholesterol, weight loss and glucose control, and now, more exciting than ever, a decrease in cancer, I will fuel my patients incentive to "try the Daniel diet." Perhaps if you haven’t yet tried the Daniel 10 Day Diet, you too will test it out and I guarantee you won’t be dissatisfied.
1). Baer, HJ., et.al. American Journal of Epidemiology. 11 Feb 1;173(3):319-29. Epub 2010 Dec 6. Risk Factors for Mortality in the Nurses' Health Study: a Competing Risks Analysis.
2). Barnard, RJ., et.al. Journal of Nutrition and Cancer. 2006;55(1):28-34. Effects of a Low-Fat, High-Fiber Diet and Exercise Program on Breast Cancer Risk Factors in vivo and Tumor Cell Growth and Apoptosis in vitro.
3). Huang T., et.al. Annuals of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2012; 60;233-240. Cardiovascular Disease Mortality and Cancer Incidence in Vegetarians; A Metanalysis and Systemic Review. 4). Ngo, Th., et.al., Journal of Cancer Causes and Control. 2002 Dec;13(10):929-35. Effect of Diet and Exercise on Serum Insulin, IGF-I, and IGFBP-1 Levels and Growth of LNCaP Cells in vitro (United States.
5). Ornish, D, et.al., Journal of Urology. 2005 Sep;174(3):1065-9; discussion 1069-70. Intensive Lifestyle Changes May Affect the Progression of Prostate Cancer.
6). Soliman, S., et.al. Journal of Evidence Based Complement and Alternative Medicine. 2011; Epub 2011 Mar 15. Analyzing Serum-Stimulated Prostate Cancer Cell Lines After Low-Fat, High-Fiber Diet and Exercise Intervention.
7). Tantamango-Bartley, Y., et.al. Journal of Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers and Preventation. 2012, Nov 20, Vegetarian Diets and the Incidence of Cancer in a Low-Risk Population.
Following God’s health principles can have amazing benefits for our health and to list them here would take quite a bit of time. In fact, we have filmed an entire television series doing just this, and yet in doing we so we have only barely scratched the surface of the blessings that God has available for us, if we avail ourselves of them. Because of this a few individuals have stated that if we “listen” to God and follow all of His health laws we will never be sick. In fact, some have gone so far as to define health as listening to God or obeying God, and disease as a lack of faith. While it is true that following God’s prescription for health can and often will prevent and even reverse many health problems, does keeping God’s health principles guarantee us good health? In this article we will explore this very important question. If the above definition of health and disease were right, how would we explain why our close personal friend who eats very healthfully, without overeating, never eats any sugar, rarely eats a third meal, hikes three or more miles per day, never goes to bed late and spends quality time with His Maker each day ended up with a recent diagnosis of melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer.
According to the above definition, if disease is best defined as a result of not listening to the voice of God, then our friend is forced to either feel as though he is breaking some unknown law of God, or he is rejected of God. The result of this is often despair and loss of trust in God—the exact opposite of God’s eight doctors!
A biblical example that must also be considered is the case of Job who developed boils or abscesses containing puss all over his body. Without doubt, these must have been very painful, and likely were associated with fevers and other symptoms of systemic inflammation. Despite Job being very ill, God Himself described Job as one who feared God and eschewed evil (Compare Job 1:1-2 with Revelation 14:6-7). In other words, in God’s eyes, Job was righteous, and yet he still subsequently became very sick.
Given cases such as these, one is forced to ask the question, “Is something else at work which can explain the presence of disease?” In Job’s case, reading all of chapter one reveals that sometimes, to further God’s glory and reveal His character, God allows His children to suffer at the hand of the enemy, if it will bring more children into His kingdom. So, if we are suffering or persecuted despite living up to all the light we have, we can take courage that we are in good company.
But what about Exodus 15:6, in which God promises the children of Israel, if they will listen to His voice, and obey Him explicitly, that He will put on them none of the diseases which He had brought on the Egyptians? How do we balance such statements with the story of Job? First of all, the text is true, and if we choose to follow God’s eight natural doctors, science has proven that lifestyle related diseases can often be prevented and treated. But, if we forget that we live in a sinful world, where “our adversary, the devil is prowling around seeking whom he may devour,” we can go too far and we can fall into fanaticism, or irrational zeal.
The Jews of Jesus’ day leave us a dangerous example. They believed that anyone who was sick, or even poor, was in that condition because they had incurred the disfavor of God. The sick were believed to be sinners who were suffering God’s punishment. Jesus worked to dispel this belief in His response to His disciples, after they asked, “’Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him’” (John 9:2-3). In other words, God did not make the man blind, but allowed the illness so that His power could be manifested to others.
On the other hand, lest we think that we have no role to play in our own personal health, the Scripture also clearly points out that our sins can and often do have consequences upon our health. One example is the passage in Luke 5:17-26 that speaks of a man with palsy (paralysis). In this story, Jesus first dealt with the man’s greatest desire, forgiveness of his sins. Then, almost as an afterthought, He dealt with the result of the man’s sin, paralysis. By healing the paralytic, Jesus proved that he had the power to forgive sins. The lesson here is that our greatest need is to be cleansed of our own sins, rather than to have some miraculous divine intervention for our physical health. See also Desire of Ages, chapter 27.
While Jesus healed many people of their physical ailments when He was here on earth, it is not always the will of God for us to be healed. Paul, the greatest evangelist who ever lived is a good example. After seeing the brightness of the glory of the Son of God on the road to Damascus, his eyes were damaged. Afterward his eyesight was very poor. He made reference to this in his appeal to the Galatians in chapter four of his letter to them. Although he had this physical ailment, the Galations loved him so much that they would have plucked out their own eyes and given them to him if they could have (see vss. 4:13-15). His bad eyesight was the thorn in his flesh, or infirmity, that God allowed him to keep so that he would not become proud with his revelations from God and his success as an evangelist (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; see also 14MR:56-57). Rather than healing Paul, God’s answer to Paul’s repeated prayers was, “Speak to Me no more of this matter. My grace is sufficient. It will enable you to bear the infirmity.” Here, we can see that despite having even the faith in Jesus that Paul had, it did not heal Him as it was not God’s will that he be healed.
In most cases, strengthened by God’s grace to follow His eight doctors, all the while asking His blessing, we can hope for restoration of our health, but it is not always God’s will for us to be healed. Because of accidents and hereditary conditions, physical ailments will continue until Jesus returns. However, one thing is certain, we can trust our physical condition and our entire beings in the hands of Jesus. He promises to give us sufficient “grace” or strength to continue to walk with Him in peace regardless of the outcome.
Today, in the United States, we are seeing an epidemic of obesity. Obesity has enormous health risks, and many scientific journals are now stating that obesity may even be more risky than smoking. As such, it is no surprise that everywhere we look, someone is touting the “best” weight loss plan. With so many options available, how does one know which method to choose? In this article we are going to examine eight, scientifically sound, side effect free methods that are inexpensive and guaranteed to work. Excess body fat causes more than its associated undesirable appearance. Scientists have known since the 1940’s that when fat cells become too large from too much fat being stored in them, they will become “sick”, and begin to increase production of dangerous hormones. Part of this course involves excess fat being stored within internal organs, arteries, and/or muscle. The combination effect of these two processes leads to a host of diseases including cancer, accelerated atherosclerosis with its increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, autoimmune diseases, as well as diabetes.
As a Christian desiring to glorify God in our bodies, is there a perfect method to loose weight and keep it off? Are you tired of worrying about weight loss? God has a perfect prescription for weight control, guaranteed to work without side effects. Using the acronym WANT REST, we will examine how these “eight natural doctors” will improve your health.
Water A recent article in the Journal of Nursing Administration showed that drinking adequate water between meals, as part of the Nurses Living Fit lifestyle program, resulted in participants experiencing a greater reduction in weight. This fits my own long-time suspicion that we often try to satisfy our need for water with food, mistaking thirst for hunger! But, what about other types of beverages? According to an article in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2007, the explosion in sugary beverages over the last 20 years has significantly contributed to the prevalence of obesity, both in the adult and pediatric populations. This underscores the importance of “snacking” on water between meals and not food or other sugary beverages.
Air Many may ask what role, if any, does fresh air have to do with obesity? According to the Hepatitis Monthly, October, 2011 issue, fatty liver disease is becoming the leading cause of cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease. Because of the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, fatty liver disease is an increasing problem even within the pediatric population. New research indicates that the two main risk factors for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are air pollution and obesity. In fact, according to the CDC, air pollution can lead to obesity by increasing insulin resistance. Take home point, we need to get fresh air every day!
Nutrition We could easily write numerous articles on the link between weight loss and healthy nutrition, but let’s focus on four points. First of all, you can’t buy weight-loss without getting more than you bargained for, so forget about weight-loss supplements. If a supplement helps you lose weight, it’s because it either has caffeine or some other stimulant, or it causes your body to malabsorb nutrients, which will lead to other problems such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Secondly, rapid weight loss leads to rapid weight gain. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was excess fat storage, if you want to keep it off, it’s not going to come off overnight. The third and most important point about weight loss and nutrition is that a high fiber, low-fat diet is the best. But, what about the supposed success rates of low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets? These diets place the patient in a starving state and as a result, they enter the “zone” of ketoacidosis which is very toxic to the kidneys. The ideal diet plan given in Genesis 1:29 is the healthiest and best weight loss diet and interestingly did not include any meat. Finally, as much as possible, we should stay away from processed foods, and instead get the bulk of our foods from the produce section or the farmer’s market. If affordably possible, organic produce is the best as it is more nutritious due to increased vitamins and enzymes.
Temperance The best definition of temperance is to, “dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful.” (PP 562) In regard to temperance in weight loss, the timing and quantity of eating is vital to weight loss. In fact, in the August 2012 issue of Appetite, a study comparing normal-weight women with obese women revealed the biggest caloric difference between the two groups was snacking. In addition, the study also showed that shorter meal times correlated with overeating. This finding was collaborated by an article in the journal of Metabolism in May, 2012, which demonstrated that fast eaters were twice as likely to be obese. The take home point here is, temperance in the timing of eating by avoiding snacks, combined with slow eating improves weight loss.
Rest As most of us are aware, melatonin is the hormone of sleep, and it’s benefits are seemingly astronomical. In a recent publication from the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism, it was stated that through various steps, melatonin decreases appetite. In addition, in the August, 2012, issue of Appetite obese women were found to be more likely to sleep less at night and nap more during the day. Putting these two studies together the vicious cycle of obesity and poor sleep becomes evident, in that, poor sleep leads to obesity and obesity then leads to worsened sleep and around and around the cycle we go! The take home point here is to maximize weight loss, we should get early, long sleep, at night, and avoid daytime “sleep snacks”.
Exercise It likely comes as no surprise to learn that the May, 2009 issue of Obesity Reviews, an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, stated that adding exercise to a weight-loss diet produces significantly greater weight loss. Interestingly, another study published in Obesity Research found that, compared to men on a weight-loss diet alone, men who were on a diet plus exercise program experienced additional restraint, less disinhibition, and less hunger. From this we learn that exercise improves metabolism, blood sugar control and assists in weight loss. In addition, as exercise improves self-restraint, it benefits our spiritual lives and can even positively affect characters!
Sunshine Sunlight causes our bodies to increase its own production of vitamin D which is vital to the prevention and treatment of many diseases. According to the May, 2012, issue of Metabolism, increased levels of vitamin D was associated with weight loss and a decrease in metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia) by up to 48%. Of course, this makes sunshine a treatment for obesity, and not just a preventive measure.
Trust in God As we have stated before, trust is best defined as, “God is in control” and stress as, “I am in control”. When stress is greater than trust we often see not only spiritual ramifications but also physical and mental effects as well. This is well supported in the prospective study in Health Psychology, which indicates that poor emotional functioning predicts obesity. The study showed that unhealthy eating is often used to regulate emotion, leading to obesity. Interestingly, it also noted that positive religious coping was a significant moderator of this effect. Easier said: if we have a framework that explains the world, based on the Bible’s description of a war between Christ and Satan, and we deal with difficulties by leaning on Christ, we will not need to run to food as a coping mechanism, and better yet, we can go to Christ for a fresh supply of grace to strengthen us in the battle of self gratification and temperance for improved health, claiming the promise, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
As you are reading this article, do you detect the Holy Spirit working on your heart? Is He calling you to turn your sleeping habits, eating habits, exercise routine and even the timing of your eating and snacking—over to Him? Our assurance is that if God can give thieves and liars victory over stealing and lying, surely He can give you and I the victory over obesity. Let’s go to Him right now in prayer, and daily surrender ourselves to Him throughout the day, leaning on Him and claiming His promises, and by His grace overcome all our maladies.