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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Health Care God's Way

John Bradshaw - Health Care God's Way

John Bradshaw - Health Care God's Way
John Bradshaw - Health Care God's Way
TOPICS: Health

This is It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. Thanks for joining me today. We’re all familiar with dieting, some of us very familiar. And dieting is today a multi-billion-dollar industry. And there are diets everywhere. The South Beach diet, and the Atkins diet, and the paleo diet. And many people try these diets with success, and many don’t. You’re not surprised, or wouldn’t be surprised, if you walked by a bookstore today and saw a brand new diet book right there being advertised in the window of your favorite bookstore. You wouldn’t be surprised. But what if I was to tell you today that there is an original diet given us by God, found in the holy Bible? And I might suggest to you today that it is the most effective, healthy diet ever conceived. Well, I’m being joined today by Dr. John Westerdahl, a nutritionist with the Bragg Health Institute in Santa Barbara, California. Dr. Westerdahl, thanks for joining me today.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Oh, great to be with you today, John.

John Bradshaw: Now, you’re of the opinion that this book, the Bible, contains the original diet. Tell me something about that.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, it does. I look at the Bible as the greatest book on preventive medicine ever written. And there’s a lot of things in here about diet and nutrition, and mentioning all different types of foods.

John Bradshaw: Why should a Christian believer be worried about his or her health, other than you might avoid a heart attack, not that that’s a bad thing, or live another year or two? Why is it important to a believer?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, you know, the Bible tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that we should take care of it and honor it, and put things in it that promote good health as opposed to things that may destroy this temple, this living temple. It’s a magnificent creation of God, and we need, need to treat it that way.

John Bradshaw: Tell me about some of these health principles you find in the Bible.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Because the Bible is good for us, body, mind and spirit, containing principles that, that minister to all of those things. Now, we can go back, I guess, all the way to the Old Testament...

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: ...and find health principles given us by God. What are some of those?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, some of those principles, of course, in spending time with God in prayer and meditation, that’s a health principle.

John Bradshaw: It’s good for your health, huh?

Dr. John Westerdahl: It’s good for your health. It helps to control stress. It gives us peace of mind. And that’s really important. That’s like nutrition for your brain, and for your mind, and for your spirit. Also, the Bible, if you go back to the old times in the Bible, the Old Testament and so forth, there are principles that God tells us of ways we should eat. From the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden diet in Genesis 1:29.

John Bradshaw: There was a, a certain diet in the Garden of Eden.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes, there was.

John Bradshaw: The Garden of Eatin’. What were they eatin’ in Eden?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, they were eating an all plant-based diet. There's no killing in the Garden of Eden. It was all plant foods. It was a vegetarian diet.

John Bradshaw: So what’d they eat?

Dr. John Westerdahl: So they ate fruits and nuts. Later on, uh, they ate vegetables. God provided those foods to us, because He knew that those were the best for our health. He supplied all the nutrients that our body needs for good health and for wellness. And that’s what science today is showing, that eating more plant foods, fruits and vegetables and whole grains, nuts, legumes, beans, seeds, these things actually have things in them that help prevent disease. Not only give us good nutrition, but also prevent disease. And in some cases can reverse disease, if we follow this type of diet.

John Bradshaw: There’s that famous old quotation, "Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food".

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes, that was Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, and he, uh, pointed that out. And that’s very good counsel. Because if we follow that rule and that guidance that we would live longer, healthier lives. And something to think about, when you look at all the cultures of the world. Before there was medicine, there was food. Food was the medicine. It was not only food to give you good nutrition, but it also was your medicine.

John Bradshaw: The whole concept of food being medicine, the best medicine being food, is interesting, isn’t it? What were some of these health laws God introduced back in Old Testament times?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, one of the biggest ones that I note is that, uh, to not eat animal fat or eat the blood of animals. And when you think about that, those are the disease components of those foods.

John Bradshaw: God said eons ago, don’t eat fat or blood.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: And someone’s going to say, well, that was Moses, and we don’t do all that Mosaic stuff now. But let me come to Acts, chapter 15 and verse 20, and this is at the Jerusalem Council, where the New Testament church, the early church, was wrestling with certain ideas. What principles must we enforce upon gentile believers? Acts 15, verse 20: "But that we write unto them that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood". The New Testament book of Acts, very plainly, don’t eat blood. And again, why? Why, why is that principle good?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, blood carries the impurities of the body. So any illness of that cow or whatever the animal may be, we’re eating that. You know, there’s been concerns about mad cow disease in recent years. But what happens when we eat all this blood? And when you eat meat, that’s what gives it its color, you know. You have blood; that juicy hamburger has a lot of blood in it that you’re eating. So the concept of not eating blood, not eating the animal fat, is very good advice, I think, from the Bible.

John Bradshaw: But didn’t Jesus eat meat?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes, he did.

John Bradshaw: The way Jesus ate meat then, did it differ substantively from the way people eat meat today?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, he followed the principles taught of not eating the animal fat and the animal blood. He did eat fish, which is different than some of those other animals.

John Bradshaw: Now, somebody suggested to me that in Bible times the way they drained the blood out of all of the meat...

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: wouldn’t have tasted markedly different from the sole of one’s shoe.

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s right.

John Bradshaw: Unless, of course, it had been seasoned otherwise.

Dr. John Westerdahl: They would, uh, actually cut it up, wash out all that blood, take all that fat out, and it would be just the, the description is it tastes like blah.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Dr. John Westerdahl: There’s no flavor, but they would season it.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Dr. John Westerdahl: So, but they would remove all the blood and all the fat.

John Bradshaw: You see those pictures of the piece of steak that has been cut with a knife, and it’s beautifully pink on the inside.

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s all the blood.

John Bradshaw: Jesus wasn’t eating that, was he?

Dr. John Westerdahl: No, he wasn’t.

John Bradshaw: And there’s no way around that. He, certainly he ate meat.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes. Well, Jesus ate the Mediterranean diet. Now, the traditional Mediterranean diet, not the Mediterranean diet of today, which incorporates a lot of Western foods. But, uh, that was largely a plant-based diet. Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, with small amounts of fish and so forth.

John Bradshaw: And another thing too: he ate that diet without owning an automobile or riding the bus.

Dr. John Westerdahl: A lot of exercise.

John Bradshaw: A lot of exercise.

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s right.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. So if we, perhaps, incorporated that type of exercise regime into our diet today, that alone would make a big difference.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yeah. It’s all part of having a balanced lifestyle. And including, nutrition is key, but exercise is very important too.

John Bradshaw: The original diet. It’s just plain good for you. And it comes to you right here, from the Bible. How good for us is it? And in what ways can we learn to incorporate not only the principles of this diet, but the blessings of this diet into our lives? I’ll be back with more from Dr. John Westerdahl in just a moment.

John Bradshaw: This is It Is Written. I’m John Bradshaw. Thank you for joining me today. I’m joined by nutritionist Dr. John Westerdahl from the Bragg Health Institute in Santa Barbara, California. We’re talking today about the original diet. Not the South Beach diet; that came a little bit later on. Not the paleo diet; that was added kind of recently. But the original diet. The Bible diet. Now, Dr. Westerdahl, very interesting Bible verse I wanted to share with you...

Dr. John Westerdahl: Okay.

John Bradshaw: right now. Exodus 15, verse 26. God said this: "If you will diligently harken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and do that which is right in His sight, and give ear to His statutes and keep His commandments, I will put none of these diseases upon you that I have put upon the Egyptians. For I am the Lord that healeth thee".

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s right.

John Bradshaw: So follow my plan, you will not get the Egyptian diseases. What did those Egyptians suffer from?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Those Egyptians had heart disease, they had cancer, they had arthritis, they had diabetes. When we look at the diseases of ancient Egypt, because they didn’t follow God’s diet or His diet plan, we look at diseases that are very similar to what we have in the United States today. The same diseases they had in ancient Egypt are the same diseases we have today. You know, it’s getting back to, going back to God’s principles of healthful living. And if we follow those, we would not have those diseases.

John Bradshaw: Now, there are some cancers that are going to get you anyway.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: It might be because of environmental factors. It might be hereditary. It might have genes that are predisposed. So we can’t be too strident and say, everybody who eats like me will never get sick.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Okay. Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Can we?

Dr. John Westerdahl: What you would do, you would reduce your risk of those diseases.

John Bradshaw: Enormously, right?

Dr. John Westerdahl: And enormously.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Seventy percent of all hospital admissions are, the patients that are in the hospital today are there because of their diet and lifestyle. So if we followed more healthful living principles, uh, a lot of those people won’t be there. By following this original diet that God has given us, we can substantially reduce those risks of those diseases.

John Bradshaw: The point is, by simply making some small changes, by incorporating God’s principles into our lives, there are many people who are flat out going to avoid doctor’s visits, emergency room visits. And they’re going to arrive 20 years later to their funeral.

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s correct. And what’s interesting to see is, when you take people who are following the typical American diet, we call it the standard American diet, SAD, S-A-D, when you take people away from that and get them on a plant-based diet, they can actually reverse some of these diseases, such as diabetes. And there have been studies by one of my friends and colleagues, Dr. Dean Ornish, for instance, who did a study where he put people on an all plant-based diet, a vegetarian diet, low fat, and showed that you can actually reverse heart disease. Actually, the plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries can actually be reversed to some degree. Actually, 82 percent of the patients he put on this diet, uh, had reversal of heart disease.

John Bradshaw: And this is important we reiterate, because the Bible says our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: You’ve got people who say, well, you gotta die of something, as they eat another T-bone steak. And my response is, yeah, but you don’t have to die of everything. Now, I spoke to a doctor friend of mine, and he told me about some of the frustrations that he has working with people.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: He said this in a very nice way. He said he had a patient there coming to see him, and he said to the patient, "You know, if you just drank more water, you’d be okay. If you just drank more water". That’s a simple change.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes, it is.

John Bradshaw: And the patient responded by saying, so I’m sharing this with you to challenge, to challenge people watching right now. The patient responded by saying, "Doctor, are you going to write me a prescription, or am I going to have to go to another doctor who will write me a prescription"?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: So unfortunately, in many case, some cases, the remedy is there and it’s available, but there’s a little unwillingness on the part of some of us to make even slight changes.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Right. I’ve known people, young men, in fact, I remember one young man that told me he’s taking blood pressure medications, he was just like in his thirties, blood pressure medication and high cholesterol medication. And I told him, um, "Well, what if I work with you and I can help you get off those medications by following a healthy diet"? And he said, "Well, I don’t know if I want to make those big drastic changes in my lifestyle to do that. I’d rather eat the way I want to". And that’s where we are today. We have to get into what we call lifestyle medicine. That’s the medicine of the 21st century, where doctors are treating their patients with lifestyle, instead of all these medications and medical procedures.

John Bradshaw: I want to ask you about the article that I have here. It’s from the Wall Street Journal. I’m not going to drill down too deep into the article.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Okay.

John Bradshaw: Headline: "The Questionable Link between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease". And I saw this just the other day from another perspective in a British newspaper, front page. Why we can now eat, bup, bup, bup, unhealthy food. Why is it that increasingly there’s pushback against this, and people are reading in reputable newspapers and reputable websites, it’s okay to eat this bad stuff?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, this is one of the frustrations most Americans have today, 'cause they read one day you should eat this way, and the next day you should go another way. And sometimes it happens, in this case, for instance, a study has come out where they’re saying, well, it looks like saturated fat and cholesterol is not all that bad for you. That is totally contradictory to the, the decades of research which, uh, substantiates that eating a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol will increase your risk of heart disease. You know, people like to hear good news about bad habits. When these studies come out, they promote them in the news media, you’ll see on the time, top of Time magazine and so forth. But there are a lot of very reputable scientists that are questioning the results of this study and the way it was done. I think the thing is, we need to look at, as opposed to just one study, look at the hundreds, thousands of studies that have been done over the years, decades, actually, that are saying the opposite.

John Bradshaw: And there might be a couple of other things that we could factor in here. One, common sense.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Feed a guy junk food, feed his brother healthy food. After a couple of years, they’re going to look different. After a few decades, they’re going to look very, very different. We all know.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Right.

John Bradshaw: Eat better. Exercise more. Lose weight. Do better. There’s the common sense aspect. And then, there’s the Bible aspect.

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s right.

John Bradshaw: What did God say in the beginning? And, in fact, I think what I’ll do is I’ll read this Bible verse. We eluded to it a moment ago. In Genesis, chapter 1 and verse 29: "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat". Or for food.

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s right.

John Bradshaw: That’s how God described it.

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s the original diet of man.

John Bradshaw: Okay, yeah. Now, Dr. Westerdahl, there are eight biblical principles, eight biblical laws that kind of sum up God’s optimal original dietary plan. In just a moment, those eight natural laws and the example of Daniel, who incorporated those laws into his life and saw enormous spiritual benefits as a result. We’ll be back in just a moment.

John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written. My special guest today is a nutritionist, Dr. John Westerdahl. Dr. Westerdahl, a moment ago I mentioned that there are eight natural health laws. Real simple points...

Dr. John Westerdahl: They are.

John Bradshaw: ...people can remember easy and incorporate into their lives. I’d like you to walk me through what those are.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Okay. They are nutrition. They are exercise, water, sunshine, temperance, being moderate in all things and abstaining from harmful items, air, rest, and trust in divine power.

John Bradshaw: Okay, let’s walk through these...

Dr. John Westerdahl: Okay.

John Bradshaw: ...set them up a little bit.

John Bradshaw: Nutrition.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Nutrition we talked about quite a bit today.

John Bradshaw: So be careful about what you eat.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Be careful about what you eat. You know, you are what you eat, and medical research is showing that you’ve got to eat healthy foods. And, and we talked about the original diet that God has given us.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Exercise, we don’t get enough exercise. We’re sitting around all the time. You know, we’re sloths in many ways, just sitting in front of, watching TV.

John Bradshaw: Something I read that bothered me somewhat. The longer people sit down...

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: ...the more prone they are to die early. And clearly, it’s not just sitting or standing, I wouldn’t think, but if you’re sitting down you’re not exercising.

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s right. And at the workplace, get up and get some walking. But getting out, getting what we cardiovascular, respiratory type of exercise. Getting fresh air. Get that heart beating. It’s very important. It’s one of the, um, things for longevity.

John Bradshaw: Water?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Water. Now, that’s water on the inside, getting fresh water, pure water, drinking it, because, you know, 70 percent of our bodies are water. We need water.

John Bradshaw: So soda doesn’t count for water?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Soda does not count for water. You’ve got to drink that pure water.

John Bradshaw: Coffee?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Coffee, there’s water in it, but there’s diuretics in it too, in the form of caffeine, so you’re losing a lot of that water.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Dr. John Westerdahl: So getting pure water.

John Bradshaw: Pure water.

Dr. John Westerdahl: And then water on the outside is important too, because what that does, it helps with our hygiene, cleanliness. There’s what we call hydrotherapy, people getting into Jacuzzis and getting water treatments that are healing, and they are natural remedies as well.

John Bradshaw: Now, the T, the first T in these eight, the fourth point was...

Dr. John Westerdahl: Temperance.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so.

Dr. John Westerdahl: And that’s an old term that’s used, uh, Christians of old time knew that all the time. The temperance movement, you know.

John Bradshaw: Temperance. Moderation in all things. Does that mean moderation in M&Ms and moderation in pork chops, or does that mean moderation in the good stuff?

Dr. John Westerdahl: In the good stuff. Temperance means staying away from the bad things. And even the good things, you need to be balanced and be temperate, and not overdo.

John Bradshaw: You know what we did? We missed one. We missed...

Dr. John Westerdahl: Oh, sunshine.

John Bradshaw: We missed S for sunshine.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Now, somebody like me, I mean, look, I’m the whitest guy that ever lived, and I can get, I can get sunburned in the dark.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: Sunshine. What’s the deal there?

Dr. John Westerdahl: There’s temperance with that too. Sunshine is really good for you. In fact, there’s a certain type of cholesterol under your skin that, when the sun shines on it, it converts it into vitamin D. It’s important to help in making certain hormones in the body. And you need some sun every day. It’s very important. However, don’t overdo it, because too much can lead to skin cancer and, uh, premature aging of the skin.

John Bradshaw: Okay. The A is for air. We all know we need air.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes. And yes, getting out and getting some fresh air. Some people are more fortunate to live in non-polluted cities where they can get really good fresh air. But, uh, getting out, getting fresh air, is really important because we need that oxygen. And air is the, uh, invisible staff of life.

John Bradshaw: Umm. R for rest.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Rest.

John Bradshaw: How much, how much sleep should a person be getting?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, you know, there’s debate on that. You know, I think most experts would say try to get at least eight hours of sleep a day, if possible. So that’s important. We need to take some time to get some rest. And it’s not just sleeping. It’s taking some time during the week to get away from the stresses of daily life. And another biblical principle is having a Sabbath day. In fact, taking one day in seven is a restful thing spiritually, it’s important for our spiritual nutrition, but it also helps us in having physical, mental and spiritual rest at one time.

John Bradshaw: The final T in this thing...

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: ...T for trust in God. How does trust in God benefit a person, body, mind and spirit, regarding, in terms of their health?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, you know, it’s interesting you brought that up, because there’s some scientific evidence now to show that people who go to church regularly, that have a faith, that practice and live a faith, have lower risk of heart disease. They’re able to have lower rates of blood pressure, better marital satisfaction, generally being able to control and handle the stresses of daily living as well.

John Bradshaw: Now, let’s look at a biblical example of somebody who put these good biblical health principles into practice and was blessed spiritually as a result. The Israelites had just suffered a, a crushing blow. Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon had come up to Jerusalem and destroyed the place, sacked the temple, and taken many of the people prisoners, marching them across the desert to Babylon. It was terrible. Daniel was now a slave in Babylon. And the Bible says, "The king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, [the king’s food], and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king". So the king said, "Dinner's on me". Daniel said, "no way". Verse 8: "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself". And as we come down a little further, uh, in verse 12, Daniel requested, "Prove your servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink". Firstly, what’s pulse?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Some people refer to it as, like lentils might be a pulse.

John Bradshaw: All right. So it’s certainly, uh, plant-based, and it’s healthy stuff. How well did Daniel do as a result of this dietary plan?

Dr. John Westerdahl: Well, they were healthier and stronger than the king’s men.

John Bradshaw: In fact, if I were to look at this, I would find where the Bible says that when the king checked them out, he found them to be ten times wiser.

Dr. John Westerdahl: That’s right.

John Bradshaw: Isn’t that remarkable?

Dr. John Westerdahl: It is.

John Bradshaw: Ten times wiser. Now, I don’t know if there was an IQ test and they had ten times the IQ points or not, but still, the biblical terminology makes it dramatic. Daniel and his friends prospered.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes.

John Bradshaw: If they were just healthier, that would be one thing.

John Bradshaw: But I believe it’s no coincidence that the very next chapter, Daniel, chapter two, finds a spiritual crisis. King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that he can’t remember. None of the wise men can tell him what the dream was or what it means. But Daniel and his friends pray to God. God gives Daniel the interpretation of the dream. I think it’s fair to say that if Daniel had not been preserving himself physically, God would not have been able to bless him so well spiritually. Would you agree?

Dr. John Westerdahl: I agree.

John Bradshaw: Dr. Westerdahl, God’s healthcare plan is pretty simple.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes, it is.

John Bradshaw: No trips to the bookstore necessary unless you don’t have one of these Bibles. It’s pretty succinctly explained, and the science demonstrates that it’s effective and it works.

Dr. John Westerdahl: Yes, it does.

John Bradshaw: What’s your advice, in a nutshell, to somebody thinking, I need to make some changes?

Dr. John Westerdahl: I would say go back to this book. Look at the original diet of man that was given to us by God, and it’ll make some great changes in your life.

John Bradshaw: Today we’ve looked at the original diet, given to us by God and promised by God to be a blessing in our lives. Dr. John Westerdahl, thank you so much for joining me today.

Dr. John Westerdahl: It’s great to be with you today, John.

John Bradshaw: It’s been a pleasure to have you here. You’ve blessed immensely. Let’s pray together...

Dr. John Westerdahl: Sure.

John Bradshaw: ...and ask God’s blessing on all of us, particularly those of us who’ve decided that we’re going to make some changes in our lives. Our Father in Heaven, we thank you today for Jesus, the Great Physician. We thank you for the Bible, the best book on health ever written, and for that original diet that, when followed has been demonstrated again and again not only to make us healthier, but happier and contribute to us being holier, more like Jesus. Fill us with your Spirit, and guide us in your way. I pray that we can live that more abundant life promised us by God. We thank you today for being with us, and we pray, gratefully, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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