Friday, April 17, 2009

Absorbing Vital Nutrients

What's the point of being careful about what we eat if our body doesn't benefit from the nutrients anyway? We can eat right foods and take good supplements, but if our body doesn't absorb the nutrients into the bloodstream, it doesn't do us any good.

Vitamins that don't dissolve in water don't dissolve well enough in the stomach for our bodies to absorb the nutrients and they are wasted.

Nutrients often need other nutrients to be absorbed properly. For example, Vitamin C helps absorb Iron; to absorb Vitamins A, E and K it's important to combine it with a little dietary fat, and Magnesium helps the body absorb Calcium. These are just a few examples.

God, in His wisdom, has taken care of many of these things in nature. Spinach contains iron and Vitamin C along with a number of other vitamins and nutrients. Unlike supplements, living foods contain a balanced mix of vital nutrients.

Anything that aids digestion helps the body absorb nutrients. Here's where our fermented friends come in handy. Yogurt, Vinegar, Wine and Miso are all digestion aids. When digestion functions well, more vital nutrients become available to all the parts of our body.

Is there a spiritual lesson in this principle of nature?

Of course. Our spirit needs to be nourished as well.

There are many thing that help us absorb spiritual nutrients. Listening and obeying the spiritual authorities God has placed in our lives is one of the first steps to nourishing our spirit man. It's true that no person is perfect, still God expects us to learn from other people and submit to the spiritual authority He's given. Not blindly, of course. The Bible remains our rule of faith and conduct, so if any authority leads us to stray from sound biblical doctrine we find another mentor.

Another aid to spiritual digestion is to obey the lessons we've already learned. Hearing without action will not help us grow spiritually, but hearing and obeying will! We move forward and become ready for the next set of marching orders from our Captain.

Still another key that helps absorb spiritual nutrients is meditation. Take time with Scripture passages that move you. Think about them, ponder them, turn them over and over in your mind. Then look for ways to apply them to your life. Sounds a lot like digestion, doesn't it?

One more thought, before you begin to read the Bible each day, ask God to guide your study. Pray that He will lead you and burn His words into your spirit. Ask Him to change you through His Word in ways that only He knows you need change.

Digesting and absorbing spiritual nutrients will strengthen our spirit man to live the kind of love-filled, power-filled life Christ calls us to.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Yogurt is one of the most healthy and flexible fermented foods God has given us. It can be used cold as a dessert with fruit, as a drink or in thousands of recipes. Try replacing Sour Cream with Yogurt in recipes. We've even used Yogurt on baked potatoes.

I have a great little book called, "The Yogurt Cookbook" by Olga Smetinoff, originally published in 1966. Olga grew up with a mother who kept fresh, homemade yogurt on hand at all times. Her mother brought this tradition to the United States from Europe when they immigrated. Many credited yogurt for their good health, vibrant skin and shiny hair. They noticed that even in times of poverty people were able to make their own yogurt and continue in good health.

Yogurt has been a staple in most countries of the world. "The Russians refer to it as prostokvasha, and the Bulgarians call it keselo mloeko. It is a staple food all the way from Odessa to Peking. It is known in all the Arabic countries of Europe and North Africa," says Smetinoff. "Yogurt contains certain bacteria that, in the intestinal tract, break down milk sugar into lactic acid in which disease-producing bacteria are unable to live."

Smetinoff sites Dr. Ilya Metchnikoff (Ruussian bacteriologist, author, and the first to identify the bacilli that created yogurt) who attributes the longevity and stamina of the people of the Balkan countries to this marvelous food. He found that although they were among the poorest peoples in the world, and were deprived of most of the foods normally containing the necessary vitamins, they were practically immune to stomach troubles. Ulcers were almost unknown. He gave credit for their good health and long lives to yogurt. He found, during the time he conducted this important study, that there were 1600 Bulgarians over the age of a hundred to every million of population, compared to only 11 Americans per million."

Good health begins with digestion. Fermented foods are the superheros of digestion. Try adding yogurt or other fermented foods to your diet at least once a day. It may be a challenge at first, but you'll get the hang of it.

I am amazed when I think of God's creation. Down to the smallest, microscopic bugs--microorganisms--He has planned for our health and well-being. God created these tiny little guys to protect us from disease and maintain vibrancy.

Dear Lord, I am in awe of your spectacular creation. Perfect in every way and beautiful, you have gone to such great lengths out of love for us.

Take some time this week to Meditate on God's great love. Today is Good Friday. This weekend we celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. We remind ourselves of all that he suffered because of love. From His creation to His sacrifice, which was planned before the foundation of the earth God shows His love for us.

Yogurt Recipes

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Every culture uses fermentation of food to preserve it, enhance flavor and add variety as well as for the well-documented health benefits. "The origin of fermented foods is lost in antiquity, but fermentation is one of man’s oldest attempts at food preservation and preparation. There are biblical references to fermented wine production and recorded indications of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (668-626 BCE) on what he considered to be the best wines of his time. Fermentation, however, predates even these early writings. It is suspected that the natural fermentation processes for grains and dairy led to the development of beer, wine, cheese and yogurt about the time early man moved away from a hunter-gatherer society into an agriculture-based society. To survive, ancient man had to harness nature. Food begins to spoil the moment it is harvested, but food preservation enabled man to put down roots, live in one place, and form communities. He no longer had to consume the kill or the harvest immediately." (taken from, Fermentation and its Health Benefits by Robert L. Lawrence M.ed., D.C., D.A.C.B.N.)

Microorganisms are natures recyclers. "There is something fascinating about microorganisms," says Lawrence. "They are everywhere—in the air, in water, in food, and in our bodies. They are invisible and without number, capable of multiplying with extraordinary rapidity. Some are agents of illness and even of death—but some are the very foundation of life and health."

Some of the benefits of fermentation Lawrence describes in his paper are these:

* Renders food resistant to microbial spoilage and the development of toxins.
* Inhibits the transfer of pathogenic organisms.
* Improves digestion and nutrient absorption of food.
* Preserves food between the time of harvest and consumption.
* Enhances flavor and nutritional value.

If you glanced through those quickly, read them again. That's an impressive list! Can you imagine the wide range of health benefits fermented foods have for the human body?

In recent time we've outgrown fermented foods, we have quicker, more consistent ways of preserving foods. Our new ways have the benefit of giving the food a more uniform look and texture and giving the food a longer shelf life. However, they do NOT provide any of the above benefits.

The process of fermentation is different for different kinds of food, it takes time, usually attention and always patience--things we seem to be short on these days. Luckily there are natural stores that carry beneficial fermented products. Yogurt, Keifer, Miso, Tofu, Vinegar, Tamari or Soy Sauce and Sour Kraut, just to name a few. Check labels for something like "Live & active cultures."

Try using vinegars on salads and main dishes. I've just discovered Annona Gourmet, a local store that carries many exotic and delicious olive oils and vinegars. The owner will let you taste! You can even buy a few then mix and match. Check it out if you live anywhere near Northeast Minneapolis.

You can also try making yogurt at home. Click here.

All this talk about patience and process seems like it could be good for the soul as well. I definitely think there's a lesson to be learned here. God places examples for us all through creation. Yes, He cares about our physical health, but He's even more concerned about the health of our eternal spirit. How about trying an experiment in spiritual fermentation?

Try this for 20 minutes:
Read one passage in the Bible. It can be one verse or one paragraph. Read it again a number of times. Meditate on what it means to you personally. How does it apply? What does it ask or expect you to do? What does it say about God's character or His will? How does it make you feel? Ask Jesus what you need to learn from this passage. Listen.

Can't you feel those spiritual microorganisms multiplying and strengthening??