I’m a list maker. Making a list keeps me on track, helps me remember what I’m supposed to be doing and best of all, makes me feel good when I get to mark things off. But the list that eventually made me feel best is The Dirty Dozen. For me, it originated in Jordan Rubin’s books The Maker’s Diet and The Great Physician’s Rx for Health and Wellness. Other forms of this list can be found in Dr. Don Colbert’s What Would Jesus Eat? and Dr. Ben Lerner’s Body by God. Warning – you will want to throw something at this screen because chances are at least one of your favorite foods will be on this list. Take a deep breath and read on.
The Dirty Dozen
- Shellfish and crustaceans
- Processed meat/hydrolyzed soy (imitation meat products)
- White flour
- Hydrogenated oils (margarine, shortening)
- Pasteurized, homogenized skim milk
- White sugar
- Soft drinks
- High fructose corn syrup
- Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharine, sucralose)
- Artificial flavors
Determined to feel better, I cleaned the Dirty Dozen out my pantry five years ago and filled five garbage bags! I didn’t want anything to stay in my house that would cause me to feel bad in the slightest way. I felt horrible, but knew that my prayers for better health were being answered through the new things I was learning. The results from incorporating healthier foods into my diet were astounding. My energy level rose, my joint pain lessened, and my total cholesterol decreased. It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.
You may say, “Well, that’s fine for you, but I feel just fine. Thank you very little.” If you do feel fine, I am sincerely happy for you, but if you eat poorly and don’t move your body you won’t feel that way for long. I know many people younger than me who have no energy and seem to ache all the time, yet they refuse to try a healthier lifestyle. Type II diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in America, due primarily to the Standard American Diet (also known as the SAD diet!). I shudder to think how I would feel today if I had not decided to take care of this body God has given me.
After you clean out your pantry you have to fill it up with foods that are good for you. Here’s another list:
Fermented/cultured dairy products
Fruits and Vegetables
Olive oil and other good fats
Today is November 1st, the weather is nice and I challenge you to do three things for the next 30 days:
- Meet with God every day through Bible reading and prayer
- Clean out your pantry and replace them with the healing foods
- Move more than you usually do
Can you do it? Do you want to do it? Talk to God about it and see what He says you should do. “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
Participating in this kind of outward discipline creates an inward shift in the heart. Just as we become aware of the junk in our pantries and begin to replace it with healthy food, feasting daily on God’s Word causes a similar process. Communicating with God increases our awareness of the junk in our hearts. As we get to know God, we fall more deeply in love with Him and we begin to replace our heart junk with the Bread of Life. This exchange, physically and spiritually, mightily displays the Spirit’s transforming power to our friends and family. It takes feeling this good to realize just how truly bad we felt before. I know you’ve heard people say, “I just didn’t know how bad I felt.” When we grow up on skimpy food for the body and soul we just don’t understand how it feels to feel great. I want you to know that feeling.
What was the last thing you received you couldn’t wait to tell your friends and family? Was it a new car, a good deal, maybe a new job or a grandchild!? When we get good news we want to share it with someone. When we discover something that can make life better for those we love we can’t wait to explain it in great detail. Well, that’s why I am so passionate about improving our spiritual and physical health. I KNOW this works!
I promised you earlier I would try to not make you feel guilty. Guilt is never a good motivator, but transformation is! I do promise that you will feel better, look better, act better and be better if you will just accept this 3-part challenge. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)