E-mail Updates!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner















Tendergrass Farms

Get The LLVLC iPhone App

PODCASTS

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY


THURSDAYS AT 7PM ET


FRIDAYS WITH FRIENDS

Remembering Kevin Moore

Social Media





LLVLC Archives

Can A Christian Follow A Paleo Low-Carb Diet?

I really enjoy philosophical questions about nutrition from my readers because it means they are giving serious thought to this whole concept of livin’ la vida low-carb and not just blindly following it (that’s what far too many people are doing with conventional wisdom regarding diet). Some people buy into the healthy low-carb lifestyle hook, line, and sinker because it just makes total sense to them through the scientific evidence and results they see personally while others have to come into it gradually at their own pace as knowledge and understanding begins to happen and they become convinced empirically. That’s what is so fantastic about the whole low-carb/Paleo/primal community is that each of us are at varying levels on this journey to attain optimal health and have our own hurdles and obstacles to overcome to make this way of eating work for us in the long-term.

With the rise in popularity of the Paleolithic diet in recent years that hearkens back to the nutritional and exercise habits of our early human ancestors, an intriguing question has come up amongst a certain segment of my readership: Christians. I’ve briefly discussed the subject of diet and the Bible in a previous post I wrote called “Does The Bible Consider The Atkins Diet A Sin?” As a believer in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, I’ll receive an e-mail from time to time questioning how I reconcile my faith in God and the Paleo diet. Whether it’s the whole “evolutionary” aspect of it or the seemingly high-carb diet of Biblical days, there are some serious concerns whether or not a Christian can follow a Paleolithic diet while maintaining the integrity of their religious beliefs. The following e-mail I received from a reader recently addresses this directly from a Christian who sincerely wanted to know how her faith and chosen diet can co-exist:

Hi Jimmy,

I’ve been a faithful, long-term low-carber for seven years, so I’m totally on-board with the health benefits of low-carb eating. I enjoy reading your blog, Dr. Eades’ blog, and Gary Taubes book/interviews. I like to think I’m pretty well-educated on the ins-and-outs of low-carbing.

I have one question that keeps coming up that I don’t know how to answer. I am a Christian, as are my parents. I know that you are, too, so perhaps you can put this into perspective for me. My mom keeps saying, “Why did God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, eating from the fruits and vegetables that grew there, if human digestive systems were not designed to eat those things? Why did God even create edible grains if we weren’t meant to eat them?”

The people in the Bible routinely ate “bread” and even Jesus used the metaphor, “I am the Bread of Life.” Christians “break bread” together as part of the commemorative act of Communion. You see where I’m going with this. At what time in human history were we hunter/gatherers?

The results of low-carbing speak for themselves, but this perplexes me. Thanks for any insights you can offer, Jimmy.

Wow, deep question! It reminded me of this thread on the CrossFit Discussion Board discussing the same thing from a Christian who loves Paleo low-carbing, but wonders about how it matches up with Biblical teachings. You know, I’ve never put my diet through the Biblical lens quite to this degree personally because to me it’s not about necessarily the ancestral/evolutionary aspect of low-carb eating as much as it is regarding the science that supports high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb living for my body. That’s not to say I don’t feel a definitive brotherhood with people who are into the Paleolithic movement, though, because we’re on parallel paths to the same thing: getting people healed from the diseases of modern man by educating them on the negative consequences of consuming what is considered “food” in the 21st Century and to instead hearken back to the diet that our forefathers once consumed for vibrant health. Nobody in the Paleo or low-carb community will disagree with the ultimate goal of the education we are providing.

Since I have quite a Rolodex full of names of people I’ve interviewed on my podcast or come across in the blogosphere who are of the Paleo/primal/low-carb bent, I thought it would be fun to ask them to take a stab at this conundrum presented by my reader. Keep in mind that these experts on Paleo diets may or may not have a faith in God so take their answers accordingly. Nevertheless, this should give you plenty of food for thought on the subject. ENJOY!

Dr. Loren Cordain, author of The Paleo Diet

This is a tough question for which there are no easy answers. In lectures, my standard approach is to acknowledge that I respect all people’s belief systems, but the topic of today’s lecture will focus upon the evolutionary basis for optimal human diet and not religion.

The great evolutionary biologist, Dobzhansky said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” A similar statement could be made for nutrition, as this discipline is simply applied biology. I did not “invent” the Paleo Diet, but rather together with scientists from around the planet, we simply uncovered what was pre-existing — the diet of the world’s hunter gatherers and the diet to which our species is genetically adapted.

“Low carb” works not because Mike Eades, Dr. Atkins, Gary Taubes, me or any mortal human invented a low carb diet, rather it works because low carb and low glycemic loads were universal nutritional characteristics of the ancestral diet that shaped our genome. When we make our modern diet consistent with the general nutritional parameters that were present in pre-agricultural diets, then we restore the balance between our body’s genetically determined nutritional needs and the foods our physiologies require for optimal function.

These are the fundamental reasons why modern day “Paleo” diets are nearly universally therapeutic. Accordingly, these nutritional insights have only come about in the past 10-30 years and could have only come about after Darwin’s recognition of the universal process (evolution via natural selection) by which life forms changed and adapted over the course of our planet’s 4.5 billion history. Evolution is not a theory, but rather a fundamental fact which guides insight into all biological processes including nutrition. Evolution doesn’t necessarily exclude spirituality for all people, and many prominent scientists who study genetics and biology process have developed personal belief systems that accomodate evolution through natural selection.

Kevin Brown, author of The Liberation Diet

I have written an article called “The Spiritual Side of Healthy Eating” in which I try to incorporate God’s input on diet. Of course, as we believe God is the Creator, there is no Paleo diet, as we became meat eaters after our fall into sin in the garden of Eden. We were designed to eat plants initially, bread after the fall into sin, and animals after the flood of Noah’s day. We are not currently able to do well on a high-grains or high fruit diet. God gives us a perfect illustration of a healthy meal in Genesis 18 where He records the foods that He eats, and we know that God does all things perfectly. Any record of a meal that God eats personally includes fat and protein.

Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body-Primal Mind

Reasoning your way through anyone’s religious belief systems can be a real minefield. There are almost as many ways to interpret Biblical ideas and writing (or any religious text) as there are individuals out there aspiring to the general belief system. One way a person can think about this is that humans are not the only life form on the planet and many different foods exist to nourish many different kinds of things. What’s food to one species is poison to another. Grains may be “edible” but so are poisonous mushrooms. Just because it’s something we can put in our mouths and eat when better food isn’t available doesn’t mean it’s great for our health. We can digest and do OK with some fruits and a wide variety of vegetables, though these are not sufficient to sustain us alone. We lack the four stomachs of ungulates to make optimal use of cellulose-based foods. We can get some good things from them but they are insufficient as a primary food source. We need animal source foods to properly meet all of our many nutritional requirements. Jesus ate lamb and fish, too. Within Biblical context I suppose one could say because we are “fallen” from the Garden it no longer is sufficient to nourish us.

Grains have always been an inferior source of nourishment but in Biblical times they were also genetically very different from the way they are today. In recent times Big Agribusiness has genetically modified and bred a great deal more gluten into the grains, literally causing a 400% increase in the incidence of Celiac disease within the last 50 years alone. No more that 1% of people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity has ever been diagnosed and the ramifications are potentially devastating to every facet of human health. This problem is literally epidemic. Where the average person may have tolerated grains better in Biblical times they were never really a quality source of nourishment. They leave us vulnerable to numerous vitamin and mineral deficiencies, impair the function of our thyroids and pancreatic organ, the starch in them wreaks havoc on our adrenal system, our brains, immunity, digestion and cardiovascular system. They are truly addictive in the most sinister sense of the word and truly inferior in nutrient content.

Grains are cheap fodder used to fatten cattle…and they fatten us in a very similar way. Over many generations of poorer quality diet our genome has become increasingly vulnerable to many dietary and adverse environmental influences (remember Pottenger’s Cats?). We simply haven’t got the room for error anymore. We’ve spent close to 2.6 million years as hunter-gatherers as a whole and less than a few thousand years (or in some instances less) as agriculturalists. We simply are not genetically adapted to healthfully depend on grains as any sort of dietary staple. We are not physiologically designed to depend on carbohydrates as our primary source of fuel. The Food Industry, Big Agribusiness, Big Pharma and just about every other evil major corporate interest profits greatly, however, to have us believe otherwise.

Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution

Jimmy forwarded an email to me in which a woman was trying to reconcile a perceived discontinuity between the Paleo concept and her Christian faith and asked me to write a few thoughts on the topic. Jimmy has done so much good for the low-carb Paleo concepts I’d do about anything to help him but I cannot help but comment up front that this feels very much like sticking my neck into the hangman’s noose. Faith and belief systems are so incendiary that I suspect I will greatly offend at least someone by even commenting on this…but it’s also an important topic. I guess all I ask is that folks take this as the opinion of one person, I do not claim to have all the answers, not do I claim my position to be “right.” It is just my opinion.

In the email Jimmy shared the woman was articulating a sense of confusion over the following: She knows her body runs better on low carbs, but yet Biblical passages recommend the “breaking of bread” as part of sacrament, worship and community building. The rub arises when she or her parents consider the “Paleo” concept and they cannot reconcile (literally) a “time before bread.”

I’ve received perhaps a few thousand similar emails over the years and the commentary goes something like this:

“Hey Robb, I appreciate the work you do, the diet and lifestyle you recommend has completely changed my life, reversed disease and I feel great. I have to tell you though, this whole “Paleo/Evolution” thing is just wrong. Your food is right, the lifestyle recommendations are right, but your ideas supporting them are wrong. Just wanted to share that clarification with you.”

You can look around my site and find these comments, I can dig some out of my inbox if folks want to see them, but it’s a very similar story as what Jimmy received.

So, I can see a couple of different scenarios in how to reconcile this information:

1. Good food, Bad ideas
Folks can just ignore the “Paleo” concept. If you want to understand some of the inner-workings stick with the molecular biology discussing insulin resistance, grain intolerance etc. ignore the overarching concepts of Evolution and you should be set. Now, some of the conflict the woman had from Jimmy’s email grew out of the fact the Bible recommends bread. True enough, but it has no commentary on high fructose corn sweetener. At some point you need to think for yourself and navigate the grey areas. If foods made you sick, perhaps it’s not a great idea to eat them. Here is a nice resource of someone who sees no conflict between low-carb, grain free eating and a rich religious life.

2. Interpretations change
This is where I’m likely to make a bunch of people mad, but here goes: We are human. Shocker, I know, but part of being human is a remarkable ability to be “wrong.” There was a time when Western thought was that the Earth was the center of the universe. This was based on Biblical teachings. Galileo was raised in this prevailing mindset yet his astronomical observations placed the Earth not at the center of the universe, but one of many planets circling our sun. The response from the church? He was tried, found guilty of heresy and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. My point? Our understanding of the world changes and sometimes this conflicts with notions that have been brought down from our faith, but it need not destry either our faith nor our ability to be rational, thinking people. Read more about Galileo here.

Now, I make a living coaching people, selling “diet books” and similar shenanigans but if you know me at all you will know I am motivated by a powerful desire to be of service to people. I want to help. Low carb diets help. In fact, they heal. Grains, sugar and processed foods are problematic for a variety of reasons, you have only to try removing them from your diet to experience the benefit. So, at some point folks need to figure out how important it is to make sure the details of their faith dovetail with the observed health benefits they and their families receive from low-carb, “Paleo” eating.

Richard Nikoley, Paleo blogger at “Free The Animal”

OK, what’s going on here, and I’ve seen this before in my own family of many “born-again Christians” is she’s pointing out an apparent contradiction. In other words, she’s right: either Paleo dietary principles are right or Christian doctrine. They can’t both be. Contradictions don’t exist in reality. That said, here’s a post I wrote sometime back to confront that exact thing.

It’s not important how it is that after being raised with a Lutheran dad, a Mormon mom — who then both converted to Evangelical, born-again Christianity when I was about 10 — I became a non-believer: the A-word. From ages 10-18 I attended school at the Baptist church my parents were involved with and then a second one they helped start. I actually got a great education, though deficient in science. Here’s the self-guided curriculum that was used.

I attended Divinity or Bible School for a year out of high school: Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee which pretty much ended up being the beginning of my downfall from faith. But it took a long time, another 10 years roughly until I came to grips with the fact that I just did not believe any of it. And that was 20 years ago now. I want to be as inclusive in all of this as possible so I don’t think it’s important to force confrontation of the contradiction. As one friend of mine, also a non-believer, raised a Catholic says: religion is an intensely personal issue. Leave it alone. Focus on actions.

Virtually everyone lives with some form of cognitive dissonance. It’s probably an evolutionary survival adaptation. So, why single out religion when there are people who, for example, hold a marriage together where both people would be happier otherwise (and sometimes, the kids too). Or, staying in a job you hate and makes you miserable. You could go on all day.

Here’s how I might deal with the specific complaint from a believer’s perspective, though not perfect. “God created all manner of toxins, from outright poison that will kill 1,000 people with a single drop — and snakes and other poisonous animals — to mild irritants, like poison ivy and gluten. And then there’s the whole host of things some people are deathly allergic too — like peanuts — while others can eat their fill. Perhaps these are merely bumps in the road with the occasional steep cliff to avoid. So in addition to other pitfalls that test faith and allegiance in the spiritual realm, so there may be physical and nutritional pitfalls to avoid as well.”

Diana Hsieh, Paleo blogger at “Modern Paleo”

I suppose that I’d say two things:

First, I don’t think that the Bible should be looked to — even by Christians — for dietary advice. That’s clearly not its purpose. It’s not a divine cookbook (except in some few laws). Its claims and metaphors about food reflect the habits of the primitive agricultural societies in and for which it was written.

Second, the Bible contains much worse things than bread-eating, such as stoning blasphemers, demands of death for gays, near-sacrifice of children, drunken incest, genocide, slavery, etc. Those things — not to mention its basic morality — strike me as far more important.

Personally, as an Objectivist, I don’t regard the Bible as anything more than canonical ancient literature: it has no moral weight for me. So if the Bible commands bread-eating, so much worse for the Bible.

However, I do understand that Christians have a different perspective. Yet ultimately, they need to decide what will have more weight with them: the hard facts about what makes their lives here on Earth better, and the claims of Scripture. I hope they choose the hard facts. If not, they’ll self-destruct in far more important ways than diet. And that’s a terrible shame.

Now that you’ve heard from the Paleo superstars, what do YOU think? Can a Christian confidently follow a Paleo low-carb diet without jeopardizing their belief in Jesus? Do you think this issues matters at all whether you are a Christian or not? Let’s hear from you because I know you have an opinion on this subject. Leave your comments below.

  • http://yelling-stop.blogspot.com/ Tuck

    I’ve actually had this same discussion with an Orthodox Jew who took up Paleo. Since the dietary laws in the Bible come from the Old Testament, and since Orthodox Jews follow them more diligently than the rest of us do, this was of some concern to him.

    Dr. Davis has a post on this:

    http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/in-search-of-wheat.html

    Through him discovered this interesting site:

    http://www.growseed.org/einkorn.html

    Einkorn is the form of wheat that was actually consumed in biblical times. Many people who have a problem with gluten can in fact consume einkorn. I suspect that part of the modern problem with wheat is not only that the strains are more toxic but that we’re over-consuming them, it makes sense that a smaller amount of a less-toxic strain could be consumed with few, if any, health problems. (You can OD on raw bok choy, for instance, if you eat too much of it, but that doesn’t mean you should never eat bok choy.)

    Last I heard from my ortho-paleo friend he was looking into this.

    So I don’t see why consumption of small amounts of einkorn wheat, consistent with a paleo diet, should conflict with the Bible. You may, in fact, be getting back to basics.

  • http://mylowcarbjourney.com Hank Garner

    Oh Jimmy….. Always stirring the pot ;). You and I have had this conversation and you steered me to the interview you did with Kevin Brown. That answered it for me. The real question for me, like you I believe, is what diet (or lifestyle) is supported with the most real science, and which diet is most likely to bring our bodies into alignment with how God created us. Clearly to me, the low carb lifestyle has the most healing qualities of any other. Just my 2 cents….

  • Ginger

    Interesting discussion…I am a Christian but have never tumbled to the bread issue in that sense before now. The bread made back in Biblical times was about as simple as you can get I’m certain, and whole grain to boot. As it was stated, fruits and veggies had not been genetically modified and there were no “processed” foods or HFCS. The Old Testament Law also declared pork unclean and not to be eaten (bummer!) However, in the New Testament, Mark 7:19 reads: “For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)” More conundrums.

    For me it is a matter of taking good care of the body God has given me and that means not eating grains and potatoes and sugars and a lot of fruit unfortunately. After 6 years, I have learned (the hard way) that I simply cannot eat that way (high carb) and be healthy and able to function in whatever manner God needs me to. Maybe looking at it from that perspective will give your reader a better feeling about eating LC.

    Turning the other cheek does NOT mean allowing yourself to get the snot beat out of you on a regular basis…BREAKING bread doesn’t mean ya have to eat it!

  • Cathy

    Why does low carb have to be “paleo?” I’m a Christian and I’m also low carb. The Bible does speak of bread-eating, but it also speaks of milk-drinking, which many people cannot do because of lactose intolerance. Rather than evolution, I believe in devolution. Perhaps there was a time in human history when eating grains did not cause many problems, but due to degeneration of DNA and the onset of illness, allergies, etc after the fall, not all food is good for all people. I know many people who do well on whole grains, while others have Celiac disease. I don’t have Celiac, but I don’t do as well with grains as I do with fat and protein. It’s just the way my system is, due to it’s fallen nature. Although I’m a big fan of low-carb, I don’t think there is ONE diet suitable for ALL people. If low carb is right for you, it’s not because of evolution. It’s because of systemic weaknesses and derangements you have as a fallible human being.

  • Su Bratchie

    I am a Christian. I have had a weight problem all of my life ( I am now losing steadily) and I did look for wisdom in the Word of God, which I believe the Bible to be. I do not have any problem with the ‘Paleo’ diet, as whilst I believe in Creation and intelligent design, not Evolution, I dont really care what anything is called or labelled and would not waste time worrying about that if it is ‘Truth’ and bears good fruit!
    For anyone who is still with me I found my answer to this scripturally. For those who are satisfied with evolution you will now switch off! for those that like a scripture- stay tuned…Nehemiah Chapter 8 v 10 The He said unto them , go your way eat the fat! Remember even the bread that Jesus ate was not the refined stuff we eat now, nor was it staple diet, the food was seasonal, food was not stuffed with sugar, and the eating of Honey whilst mentioned in the Bible came with a warning, do not eat to much !proverbs 25.16 The Bible also mentions decietful food, what is deceitful food- food that isnt food! Proverbs 23 v 1 -3. Amplified version. It has taken me until now to understand what deceitful food is, after reading sugar shock, big fat lie, Trick or Treat and listening to many of the guests Jimmy has had on his show’s I am now satisfied that I now see how we can be decieved and destroyed through our bellies! packaged coloured chemical ‘food’. Why do people have a problem with the term, hunter-gatherer? in the Uk in Saxon times-Norman times and all throughout our known history we hunted our meat and we had seasonal berries/fruit/greens. It is only now we see such an explosion of processed, tinned, food that isnt food, high in sugar and carbs. Remember a bad tree does not bear good fruit, and a good tree does not bear bad fruit. Don’t think to hard about it, the fruit of low carb living speaks for itself and any Christian would be wise to follow its principles to line ourselves up more with the way we were created to eat for our bodies to work best and to look after our ‘Temples’.

  • qualia

    you know how the saying goes: we’re both atheists, i just believe in one god less than you.. (of all the thousands humans have “invented” historically)
    stop that christian retardedness in your blogs or i will have to unsubscribe – just purely for the sake of my own mental sanity. sheesh.. seriously. what a backwards country the US still is..

  • Kim

    This has been a topic of interest with me since my sister, a fundamentalist Christian, asked me why grains are bad for us if the bible tells us to eat them.

    I actually did a brief survey of the bible to address the issue. Most people are familiar with the Ezekiel passage that told the Jews to make a bread out of various grains/legumes. There’s even a brand-named bread named after it. Interestingly, if you read the ENTIRE passage (IOW, what comes before and after it) you get a very different impression. The Jews were told to make that bread as basically a punishment for sin. Whoa! There’s no way you could construe the eating of that bread as a blessing.

    Next, (I’m moving rather fast here) the Jews were told to kill a lamb and use the blood as a paint on the doorpost to mark their home so that during Passover, they would be passed over and their first born would live. It is interesing to note that the lamb had to be consumed in its entirety. Any leftovers had to be burned in the fire it was roasted in. So among other pre-configurations in this context, the eating of meat is associated with salvation and blessing.

    After that, we see in the NT when reading about the Prodigal Son passage, the father calls out to his staff to what? Go gather the finest wheat and make a loaf of bread? No! He instructs them to go out and “kill the fatted calf” for their feast. So here again, we see that the eating of meat is associated with salvation and blessing.

    And finally, culminating in the final act of salvation history, we see Jesus offering up himself as the sacrificial lamb (as per the Passover in Exodus). I find it fascinating that at the Last Supper, Jesus uses bread as a representation of Himself. He tells His disciples in John 6 that unless they eat of the “flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood” they have no life in them. Just as with the Jews in Passover, unless they consumed the lamb and marked their doorposts with its blood, they would lose the life of their first-born son. Traditional Christian faith holds that the bread is not just a symbol of Jesus body but his actual flesh. However, in a very mystical sense, we could think of the consumption of bread as with the Jews in the book of Ezekiel as punishment for sin, mingled with the eating of Jesus flesh for salvation.

    The point I’m trying to make is that the bible never tells us to eat bread as a source of nutrition per se, but rather as a representation of something else. Further, as has been point out in the responses in the blog, the grains that existed in Jesus time, simply DO NOT exist today. I heard a few years back on the radio show that only 100 years ago, the wheat grain had something like 7 chromosomes. Today it has over 100. ALL grains have been hybridized and genetically modified. In addition, we know from archeological research, that grain fariming began about 10,000 years ago in the Middle East….the area where Jews and Arabs existed. Unless you are a descendant of one of those populations, your ancestors have not likely consumed grains nearly that long. Still, I know of a Jewish woman who has been a full-blown celiac since childhood. That should tell you how far away from the original grains we have come.

    I realize that this was probably way out there for some of you. But I have given this a lot of thought and have actually fleshed it out even more, but didn’t want to go into that much detail here. Nonetheless, I hope this helps.

  • Su Bratchie

    Then He said unto them, go your way eat the fat! Nehemiah 8 v 10. I have had a lifelong problem with being overweight, I am now losing weight slowly by eating low carb. I have never been healthier! God encourages us to use wisdom. He also says to survey what we eat and to not be desirous of dainties for they are ‘deceitful’ food offered with questionable motives. Amplified version. Proverbs 23 1 – 3. After reading so many books-sugar shock, big fat lie, trick or treat- etc, I am now convinced of the biggest weapon being used to destroy us- Processed, packaged, coloured food that isnt food!Deceitul Food!
    I have no problem with hunter gatherer ! In the Uk history our ancestors Saxon, Norman, etc etc, all hunted meat and had seasonal veggies and berries/fruit. Don’t get to bogged down, The bread Jesus would have used would not have been the same as we know it now, it also would not be a ‘dominant’ part of a diet- It was also used as an allegory to illustrate something Jesus wanted to say regarding communion. He was not promoting ‘bread’ but His life broken for us-there will always be people with faith big enough to believe in Evolution, there are those of us who have simple faith and trust in aGod who created and loves us, and designed us. I am convinced that obesity and diabetes and heart disease are all of product of deception- and we have found the answer. A bad tree does not bear good fruit and a good tree does not bear bad fruit, the fruit in my life and health speaks for itself. Thank you Jimmy for the challenge………..I am totally convinced . I am sorry that some of this will not make sense to some due to the scriptures and language used, I aimed it at the Christian lady or Christians who were looking for some answers……..Thank Jimmy for the question!

  • Burton Brown

    Acts 11 refers to Peter’s vision that what God makes clean..no one can declare unclean…

    http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Acts/Peters-Vision

    This was a revelation to Peter that God’s message was also for the Gentiles..not just the Jews.

    In the Old Testament….Deuteronomy 12 refers to people wanting meat and God allowing them to eat the meat if the do not consume the blood. It also mentions grains, wine, and olive oil….they were not to eat the “tithe” portion of the grains and such in their town….apparently they could eat the “tithe” portion of grains and such outside of their town in a place God chooses…

    Deuteronomy 12:
    15 Nevertheless, you may slaughter your animals in any of your towns and eat as much of the meat as you want, as if it were gazelle or deer, according to the blessing the LORD your God gives you. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it. 16 But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water. 17 You must not eat in your own towns the tithe of your grain and new wine and olive oil, or the firstborn of your herds and flocks, or whatever you have vowed to give, or your freewill offerings or special gifts. 18 Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the LORD your God at the place the LORD your God will choose—

  • http://n/a Sarah

    I don’t understand the reason for even asking this question?! The Christian is not held by the Law of kosher foods. The low carb diet is essentially for those who have cancer. If the Christian is Following what God is prescribing for him/her, that person will Know what they are to eat and what they are not to eat. Many Spriritual burdens connected to what people eat… It’s Common Sense to Know that you should eat fruits, vegetables and a well-rounded diet. What is hurting us is the pesticides and growth hormones the greedy are adding to our food so they can make more money…

  • http://cheapeasylowcarb.blogspot.com Sherry Peters

    As a low carber I want to do what is best for my body, God’s temple. That is my obedience to God. As a Christian, my eyes just glaze over the evolution talk, since it has nothing to do with me, and I also know that death is by far NOT the worst thing to happen to me :). I also have to realize that what people did – and ate – in Biblical times varies wildly in most respects to what people do – and eat – today.

    This should not be allowed to become a stumbling block, either among believers, or in our witness to non-believers. That we were created is a given, so stumbling over the talk of evolution in our quest for a healthy temple is counterproductive and serves to sidetrack us from what is REALLY important.

  • Eliana

    Well here is how I see it based on my faith. After Adam and Eve lots of things happened including the great flood. Once Noah and family were able to leave the ark, most of the vegetation was gone. It would have taken some time before they could actually work the ground again. However, they did have plenty of animals as well as the milk and eggs that they produce to eat.
    In order for man to survive their original makeup evolved to be able to consume and digest these foods.
    Much later, if you read the story of Jacob and Esau–Esau was a hunter.
    Hope this helps.

  • John C.

    Wow! I can’t believe that so many people look to the bible for answers to scientific questions. If those who did so here reflect the attitude of a substantial number of Americans, I fear for our nation’s future.

  • http://evolvify.com Andrew

    Of course Christians can “follow” a diet that’s based on scientific research into periods of history some don’t even believe ever happened. A more interesting question is why Christianity didn’t “lead” anyone to the idea despite a 1859 year head-start on Darwin. With all the omniscience and prophecy, it seems like a reasonable prediction to have made a few thousand years ago. As many have already mentioned, the Bible isn’t short on dietary advice so it would have made sense to get it right the first time… especially if you knew you were going to disappear from the earth for X amount of time. And… reinterpreting the Bible now to retroactively reconcile with the recently improved scientific understanding is kind of cheating.

    Denying the science that provided the wisdom underlying the paleolithic inspired diets makes it impossible to understand as a logical framework, but Christians benefit in much the same way from vaccines that exist because of the same evolutionary framework. That’s fine, but please think twice about the benefits science has given all of us if you’re ever inclined to take a hostile position against science.

    • Calvin

      THANK you, Andrew, your thoughts are refreshing, and it’s an important point to bring up that ignoring the anthropological evidence supporting eating paleo inhibits our ability to understand it as a logical framework.

      It seemed so odd to me growing up as a Christian the way some teachings of the Bible were dismissed, and others followed so literally and with such fervor. Isn’t it fairly easy to see the stories and parables as just vehicles for moral lessons? With all of the retooling of Biblical interpretation, it seems like a no-brainer to equate our evolution from an earlier primate with the fall from the Garden; it’s a simple, straightforward analogy. Evolutionary biology/psychology doesn’t have to conflict with Christianity, given that its interpretation is a constantly changing process. Since for some reason we’re not allowed to re-write the Bible and update it according to new thoughts on morality and/or new human and scientific discoveries, just as we do most other things, we may as well be allowed a bit of leeway on the interpretation side.

  • http://diabeticmediterraneandiet.com Steve Parker, M.D.

    I appreciate many of the insightful comments above. I admit I don’t study the Bible as much as I should.

    Whether or not you believe that Homo sapiens (us) evolved from earlier, ancestral hominoids, you can still ask the question: Is a Paleolithic diet generally healthier than other diets, such as the Standard American Diet or low-carb diet?

    So you can ignore the question about evolution if you’re interested primarily in health and longevity.

    I’m doubtful we’ll ever have a definitive answer to the question whether the paleo diet is the healthiest, because we probably can’t replicate it today. Due to selective breeding over thousands of years, the fruits and vegetables of today, for example, show little resemblence to those available 20,000 years ago (assuming Earth is over 6,000 years old!). Furthermore, Stone Age diets of 20,000 years ago varied widely, depending on climate and geography.

    On the other hand, we are able to test specific versions of low-carb diets against the Standard American and other diets today. And low-carbing is healthier for many folks.

    -Steve

    [Off topic, but interesting anyway: Paleolithic diets derived 40-45% of total energy (calories) from carbohydrate, compared to the Standard American of 50-60%. I bet most folks in the active low-carber community derive only 10 to 30% of calories from carbohydrate.]

  • http://www.stickitmedia.com Ron

    Does it really matter why paleo works? Frankly, the whole notion or argument that our paleo ancesters didn’t eat grains is rather boring, and the argument/observation probably causes many people to roll their eyes. While I actually buy into the argument, it’s entirely irrelevant to me. Going grain-free, balancing my N6 to N3 ratio, reducing inflammation and maintaining relatively stable blood sugar levels works for me, and that’s all that matters. Frankly, the biochemistry involved is more interesting to me than the anthropological argument. I think more people could be talked into trying the paleo diet if there were more of an emphasis on the biochemical reasoning. Bringing evolution into the equation is bound to tweak those attached to their respective intransigent religious/secular dogma. Paleo works for Jews, Christians, Hindus, muslims, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics alike. There is nothing antithetical, inconsistent, uncompromising or faddish about it. The beauty of it is that individuals are able to easily tailor their own regimen.

  • Sara

    My journey into low-carb actually began with a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions (NT). After reading that, and being convinced that humans need to get back to eating they way we used too, things started to make sense. I went from NT to low-carb to learning about paleo. It has taken some time, but I have come to some conclusions after reading and listening to as much information as I could about health and nutrition.

    1. Not all people can eat the same things. If you traveled around to various native people groups, they would all be eating different things based on where they live on the planet. So our ancestry leads to clues about what we can eat.

    2. I believe milk is OK–if it is correctly prepared. It seems that if you are drinking and eating products made from raw milk from healthy cows, that most people can handle them, and they are actually good for them. I know this disagrees with Paleo, but I guess I’m using this example to show what I think can be used by humans for food. I am lactose intolerant, but can consume raw dairy with no problems. The only reason I don’t drink it on a daily basis is because of its carb content. I do try to consume cultured dairy daily, though, which is something mankind has been doing for a very long time. If you study raw milk, you might come to some of the same conclusions yourself.

    3. I believe that if you use whole grains (the ancient ones, not the modified ones) and sprout them, and then make sourdough with them, that we can eat bread in small amounts. I just read an article on the Weston A. Price website that talked about someone who was Celiac, and was able to eat sourdough bread without any problems. Prior to eating sourdough, the man almost lost his life from Celiac disease. So products made with sourdough seem to be gluten free. Sourdough also changes a high glycemic food into one that has more protein, etc.

    4. Our use of antibiotics, soil depletion, avoiding saturated fat from healthy animals, genetically modified grains and vegetables, and the fact that sugar (esp. HFCS) is in everything is what is contributing to the decline in health. I discovered something called that GAPS diet which can be used to heal the gut. Once you use the diet to heal the gut, you can consume raw dairy and sourdough grains.

    So, I guess I enjoy learning about Paleo (I listen to Robb Wolf’s and Nora Gegaudus’ podcasts almost daily–along with Jimmy), but I don’t necessarily believe that I have to avoid milk or grains–if prepared properly. Paleo is healing many people because the people who follow the diet are avoiding those modern things which really harm our health. In fact, I’ve recently begun eating gluten free myself–because of health issues, but plan to consume sourdough bread in the future (although in very small amounts, because I plan to eat low-carb the rest of my life).

    As a Christian, I don’t believe in evolution. However, I think that if you are not prepared to switch to eating raw milk and sourdough (that was correctly made), then eating Paleo can be a very healthy way to live. For me, it’s not about my faith, it’s about what I’ve learned I must eat for my health. If humans continued to eat foods like we did since the time of Abraham, we probably would not have the health issues in such proliferation–and we wouldn’t worry about diets. So I learn about paleo as well as low-carb in order to stay healthy. Learning about healthy eating from NT first has really kept things in perspective for me.

  • Ron

    As a Christian Pastor who uses the Paleo diet lifestyle. I do not buy into the evolutionary claims of its adherents. But there are some basic facts all of us (Christian and non Christian) can agree on:
    1. Man did not have fire at his beginning. It doesn’t matter whether man was created 10-15 thousand years ago, or evolved over the last 2 million years. Either some hominid saw lightning strike a tree and used the resulting fire, or someone within a few generations of Adam and Eve saw lightning strike a tree and used the resulting fire (or somehow “invented” it — they were not created with it).
    2. The human body therefore, can only handle foods those foods that if desired, could be eaten raw without health consequences. Before man learned to use fire, he had no choice; all foods were eaten raw; which meant NO grains, rice, legumes, potatoes, etc. Whether it was homo
    Erectus or Adam and Eve is irrelevant; either way, man started raw. (I like cooking though).
    3. Modern day processing is a result of modern science. In Biblical times or in paleolithic times, all foods were organic, grass-fed (in the case of animals), pesticide free, simple ingredient foods, etc.
    4. Human milk is intended for human infants, until such time as those infants are able to eat more solid foods (the development of teeth, for example). Cows milk is intended for calves. Humans drink cows milk because we have brains capable of choosing to do so, not because it is “good” for us (it isn’t). Again, whether a evolutionist or a creationist, both can agree on this point.
    5. Even though the Bible mentions eating breads; it doesn’t do so as a recommendation for health or morals. Eating bread doesn’t make one “righteous” and not eating bread doesn’t make one less righteousness. That isn’t the issue at all. Serving God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, joy and peace…

  • gharkness

    Gotta hand it to ya, Jimmy: you knocked this one out of the park! I almost didn’t read this blog entry because (as an Atheist) the issue just doesn’t exist for me. But I continued to read, in my mind SO SURE your answer to this questioner would only be from your own Christian perspective and that you would only ask people who you were certain shared your same world view. I smugly thought to myself as I read along….yeah, but I just bet he won’t ask anybody like Richard Nikoley – and to find that you asked not only him, but Diana Hsieh also – many kudos to you!

  • http://blog.naturallyengineered.com David Csonka

    I feel this scenario is less a case of cognitive dissonance and more of an easy “out” to a tricky situation. Many Christians pick and choose which tenets of the Bible to follow as law and which to cast off as “just a metaphor”. In this case, it’s convenient to rely on the Bible’s penchant for bread as an excuse to not give it up, even when the anecdotal evidence for the benefits of doing so are so prevalent.

    To “know” that bread is bad for you, but not give it up makes one appear weak. To “know” that bread is bad for you but keep eating it because the Bible says to makes one appear strong.

    It is my opinion that some people focus on the mundane and obscure laws in the Bible to distract from the fact that they are lacking in piety in the most important areas. For example: never going to church, but making a big deal about not eating meat on Friday’s. Focusing intensely on orthodoxy and dogma is a convenient way for people to ignore the lack of meaningful spirituality in their lives.

    I’m even going to touch on the fact that I have at least a dozen friends who should have stoned their wives by now.

  • http://www.jimarkus.blogspot.com Jim Arkus

    Well, if you’re looking for evidence in the Bible that man eats meat, read Genesis chapter 4. In fact, I’ve read in more than a few places that the entire story of Cain and Abel is a metaphor for the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to agriculture.

    Still, I think the far more important quote would be Matthew 15:11 – “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’” In fact, read the whole chapter.

    Also, I think it’s important to keep cultural context in mind. Jesus’ ministry existed in a society where bread was the norm. I think he was speaking in a language that his audience understood, and he was far more concerned with our spiritual health than our body. He used A LOT of metaphors: lamb, mustard seeds, cities on hills, etc etc… I don’t know that you should grasp onto one of those and make too much out of it.

    Look, I’m a pretty strict paleo eater and have been for about a year now. But I’ve read my Bible enough and I’ve made peace with the idea of evolution fitting in with Genesis. That being said, when I go and take Communion, I eat the bread. It’s no big deal.

    Hope this helps,

    Jim

  • http://www.zehrchiropractic.com Jared A Plemon, DC

    Great job, Jimmy. I wish I had more time to add the discussion, but I’ve gotta get back to work. I just wanted to say WELL DONE….which is not how I order my grass-fed steak, btw.

  • Jonathan

    Evolutionists say we haven’t had enough time to adapt to eating grain. Well, how long did it take for us to adapt to eating meat? Did the first humans get horribly sick and fat from eating meat until they adapted? It seems pretty evident to me that we were created from the start to eat HighFat-LowCarb.
    I’m not sure why evolutionists are so hard on the Bible. Maybe it’s from those Christians that are a little too far out there. I’m sure there is plenty of room in anyone’s religion for Natural Selection. The Bible wasn’t written during Adam and Eve’s time; it was written after the boom of agriculture. I’m also not so sure why Christians get attacked with such hatred; maybe insecurities of the attacker.

  • http://littledoglost.blogspot.com Roland

    God didn’t set us up to live a life of gluttony without consequences.

    For most of us, if we could only control our appetites, even the worst offending foods would likely be fine. Our ancestors lived long and healthy lives with grains, legumes, and sugar included, but they were not eaten to excess. We also were not overeating in general. We ate what we needed to live and work, then we stopped.

    Now that we have “damaged” ourselves, either metabolically (diabetes, etc) or mentally, emotionally, and habitually (lack of self control and appetite regulation), we can focus on the foods that help us feel best physically and allows our appetites and metabolic mechanisms to recover and/or work the best they can. For me, that’s relatively low carb, few sugary treats, and avoiding things that irritate my body.

    The list of things that aren’t good for us in large amounts, often, or in excess, but still seem cool by God’s standards is long, including things like alcohol.

    The list of things that are out there in nature that could kill us is long, too. Hemlock, cyanide, certain mushrooms, etc. Peanuts, fish, and shellfish for certain people. Why does their existence not conflict with our beliefs in God? Some foods are just good, others just bad, and others are on a sliding scale.

    As for the evil of carbs or non-paleo foods like grains and sugars… It’s humans who have setup a system where less than optimal foods are grown by others, produced cheaply, and falsely promoted as healthy. God allows us the freedom to make our own choices, even when bad for us or for our society.

  • Jason Adams

    I think this scripture says it simply concerning Christianity and Paleo. Works for me!!
    “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” Genesis 9:3

  • R Dunn

    If you distill the food guidelines from the theoretical framework and follow them, the diet will still work. The biochemistry will be the same regardless of the belief system of the person following the diet .

    Some foods are good for you and some foods that are bad for you.

    If your “god” forbids or requires certain foods and you want to be true to your beliefs then you may have to include some bad foods or leave out some good foods. How this stresses you will also be a factor.

    I say biochemistry trumps beliefs and anecdotes.

    (Pretty vague, huh?)

  • http://www.sealfit.com Deadly Nedly

    Insanity. Get it together, bible thumpers. Separation of church, state, and fitness/nutrition. Otherwise you are screwed! This is an absolutely ridiculous argument and article. I am somewhat disappointed that Robb / dr. cordain would even put their name next to something so based in fantasy.

    Robb, in my fantasy world, unicorn meat erases the gut irritation of gluten. If I eat this unicorn meat, can I still eat bread and be paleo? Would you answer this question? How about if there were several million people who believed unicorn meat and the blood of your enemies could cure diabetes, and science is just wrong? Why even talk to these morons? I better end this comment before lightning strikes me, or an orc comes to smite me with his +1 Battle Axe of True Belief. What a joke.

    • http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com Jimmy Moore

      LOL! Tell us how you REALLY feel. :)

  • Charlotte

    First off, the idea that “Christians” have issues with Paleo teachings lumps all Christians together under 1 “bread-loving; evoluation-hating” umbrella. I grew up Catholic. We never had a problem with evolution. There was no contradiction. We don’t believe that the Bible is a factual book. I was raised that it was metaphor, a way to teach a belief system to nomadic desert people (in the Old Testament) and Jews living under tyrany (in the New Testament. In fact, in my experience, it was 1 segment of the Christian population that was vocal about hating evolution — Fundamentalist Christians.

    This idea (concerning Paleo) is 1 of the reason’s why people think that “Christian’s” hate science. The rationale of these people who write to Jimmy or Robb or Richard, etc goes something like this “it works, but it goes against my beliefs”. Hmmmm… Sorry guys, but if you can’t acknowledge — and be curious — about this overwhelming evidence, then go back to eating bread and sugar and cake. Be spiritually pure and wreck your body. If there is a god, then s/he gave you a mind. Doesn’t the Bible also teach that our bodies are temples? That god resides in each one of us? There’s the paradox. Use your brain.

    To me, you either buy into the science — selection drives ALL of our biological findings, not just the “Paleo” framework. You can’t speak to the biology of metabolism; insulin; etc unless you use the framework of evolution — or you don’t. If you don’t, then you can only say “I do Paleo because Robb Wolf tells me to do it” and not “I do Paleo because evidence says this, this and that; insulin levels do this, that and the other; etc; etc. You can’t have it both ways, you can’t cherry pick your science. If you can prove that Paleo works based on math, THEN you can use that as your rationale. But right now, Paleo works through the framework of evolution and natural selection.

    Unfortunately, if you want to go the “smarty-pants” route and use the science to understand, then you have to buy into evolution. But you CAN be a Christian and not have to buy into the “science is the devil’s work” route. People throughout Christianities history never took the Bible as a literal work. The idea of mythology was alive and well up into the, well, the Enlightenment. Science is what put a fundamentalist face on the Bible.

    As a little test, make a list of all the items that the Bible teaches, the ones that Christians do not do today: eat kosher; make sacrifices; stone adulterers; child weddings; etc. We do not even come close to following Biblical law. “Paleo” and “evolution” are easy targets — people seem to feel that they are “better” Christian’s for questioning these things. But the fact is, there are other things that they can do to be better fundamentalist Christians. Let’s start with getting their little girls to marry old men — old men who, by the way, can hit them (within reason, of course). Don’t like that? Ok, then quit complaining about your turmoil over Paleo. Seems you’ve got other conflicts with the Bible that need explaining as well…

  • Wendy

    I am a very conservative Christian. I started following the low carb lifestyle because my body was extremely sick from candida overgrowth. When all medicine failed me, God showed me I had candida and had to treat it. He showed me the diet I have to be on for the rest of my life has to control sugar.

    It was after this revelation from the Lord that I learned about the wide variety of low carb diets, including the paleo lifestyle. I don’t believe in evolution in any form and have a problem with the mindset being the foundation of a diet.

    1 Corinthians 6:12 says all things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient (or helpful.) I might be allowed to eat everying but is not helpful for me to eat carbs, especially white sugar and white flour, so I avoid those as much as I can.

    I do take communion, which at my church is only a few times a year, and I don’t have a problem with that. I feel it is a privelege to take it and I do it with great joy and don’t worry about the carbs, however minimal. Our communion consists of an oyster cracker and a thimble full of red grape juice.

    I am a bible student and I could comment on the various comments that have been left. However, the bible says not to get caught up in needless debate (Titus 3:9). Unless these discussions lead someone closer to God, I think that any input I would provide would not be very helpful.

  • George

    First, we are not saved because we eat in one fashion or another.

    Second, the concept of evolution should not be something that Christian can’t believe in (though a Christian can’t believe in the concept of natural selection).

    Here is a great couple of theological writings that explain why evolution is not something that Christians should not believe in (as well as some history as to why certain Christians do not)
    http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/evolution_kuraev.htm
    I would suggest that people scroll down halfway to “Man Enters the World” written by Deacon Andrey Kuraev as it is a little less dense than the first one on that page.

  • http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com Chris Masterjohn

    Hey Jimmy,

    While I think the diversity of Christian views on this topic could be better represented, thanks for addressing this issue. :)

    Chris

    • http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com Jimmy Moore

      That’s why I opened the discussion up to my readers (especially Christian ones) to chime in, Chris. It’s not an easy subject to broach.

  • http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com Jimmy Moore

    WOW, this post certainly brought out opinions across the spectrum! THANKS for your input everyone. Keep ‘em coming!

  • http://wordvixen.com WordVixen

    Nora Gedgaudas and a few commenters gave the responses closest to my own. As far as I’m concerned, Jesus is all that matters (when we’re discussing whether you can be a Christian and still fill-in-blank). Even He said that believers can and should learn from unbelievers. Paul said that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial (free to choose, just don’t be mad if you choose the wrong thing).

    As for the Bible seeming to be high carb, I disagree. It seems rather balanced in my opinion. Bread is most often brought up as an honored item, as it would be in a time when so much work and time went into making it. It was served to honored guests, it was displayed in the temple, and it was part of miracles. But you know what? So were meat and fish. The fatted calf- served to important guests, the Passover lamb, the loaves and fishes. There’s even a verse in Romans that claims those of little faith eat only vegetables (the situation being that many new Christians were afraid to buy meat in the marketplace because much of the meat had been sacrificed to idols before it was sold). So, not truly pertinent, but it’s one of my favorites. And as I’ve read Melissa McEwen say (I think it was Melissa) that just because a food is highly valued in a culture, that doesn’t make it a staple.

    Bottom line, you don’t have to be a young Earth creationist to believe in the Bible (though I am), and you don’t have to believe in evolution to be low carb or eschew grains. Paleo has a lot of good science behind it, but if you take away the name and ignore the over-arching philosophy (which is not necessary to the science- it provides only a possible why, not a what), I don’t see the problem. At all.

    And then there’s the whole question of just what that bread was made of. Seriously, chickpeas couldn’t be used only for hummus!

  • grok47

    I believe there is a God. A friend of mine says the God created the earth and mankind in 7 days. The problem i see is that mankind has been around for a long time. The “7 days” could of been 7000, 70.000 or 7 million years. People back then could not comprehend “7 million years”. God maybe did experiment with first micro organisms, dinosaurs and other animals, wipe most out and then create what we have today, smaller versions. i think God “tinkered” [evolution?]and eventually created man when things where more stable and still watches over us today. Think about DNA. God has this in all lifeforms so he can change the codes when he sees fit. i think God has a lot to do with evolution.
    Christians who have a problem with hunter/gatherer concept need to realize, between adam/eve and to when grains where widely used and cities arose, that most people hunted and gathered. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box[Bible]. That is why God gave us brains.
    Or just think that God gave us whole food in the natural state, eat it that way!!!! [warmed up with a little salt]

  • http://www.letsbehonesthereblog.com Emily Jones

    I’m a sincere follower of Jesus, a low-carber, and I have no issue whatsoever in reconciling the two. I think the problem comes when the well-meaning Christians don’t interpret the Bible correctly. It was never meant to be a diet guide (other than Hebrew dietary laws for religious purposes.) That’s simply not the intention of the original authors. The purpose of the Bible is to convey God’s plan of redemption, to lift-up Jesus, to tell His story. Within that are a ton of details about specific ancient cultures that were true in their context but have no bearing on the details of our lives now. (Levitical purity laws, etc… )
    There is a big difference between what is prescriptive and descriptive about the text, and in this case, I believe biblical commentary on food is simply describing the culture of the day, not declaring an edict for people of all time to eat that way. Jesus called himself the Bread of Life because this was a metaphor the people of the day could understand… it meant something to them, and it established the sacrament of communion. If he was ministering in a different culture could He have called Himself the Steak of Life? Perhaps. He also called himself the Door and the Way… they’re metaphors for communicating His role of Messiah and Lord. Biblical interpretation should focus on the original author’s intentions and drawing significance from their main points. To belief in inspiration and inerrancy, it’s not necessary to take every word as a command to apply to all people at all times. Context is key.
    I understand that these are sincere and concerned people who love God and want to be honest in their faith, but I really think some study in hermeneutics would solve these issues for them.
    As far as the evolutionary component goes, I have no problem with this. If it’s what works best for our bodies, that’s because God made it that way, pure and simple. It doesn’t affect my faith if other people see it differently. I personally have no issue with reconciling an evolutionary process to which our bodies adapted with a sovereign God who orchestrated the process. If it’s true, it’s God’s truth.

  • Dan (aka Renegadediabetic)

    Funny, I have been thinking about this since I read Dr. Eads latest post on low carb bias.

    http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/lipid-hypothesis/rooting-out-more-anti-low-carb-bias/

    His post exposes anti-low carb bias in an article citing Dr. Westman vs. low carb opponent, Dr. Eckel.

    Dr Eads does a great job of pointing out the bias and refuting the article. However, he goes on to say that the fact that Dr. Eckel is a creationist explains his anti low carb bias and unwillingness to look at the science. Several readers, including myself took issue with that. Belief in evolution or creation has nothing to do with acceptance of low carb. In Jimmy’s interview, Dr. Barnard used an evolutionary argument to support veganism. Since humans are evolved apes and apes are vegetarian, humans should be vegetarians. I know I can find plenty of Christian low carbers and I’m sure I can find plenty of evolutionists on the anti-low carb band wagon. I still like Dr. Eads, but I think the post would have been just fine without the creationist barb.

    I do believe in low carb and the paleo concept. I don’t have any problem using the term “paleo” and just ignore the evolutionary part of it. I don’t believe that low carb or paleo is contrary to the Bible. The only diet ever prescribed is the Jewish dietary laws, which is a list of what is and is not allowed. There is no prescription for macronutrient percentages. It’s also interesting that red meat WAS ALLOWED – namely beef and mutton. I don’t think Christians are required to follow the Jewish dietary laws, but I have no problem with anyone who chooses to do so. You can follow those laws and still be low carb.

    When reading the Bible, you have to distinguish between what is descriptive, describing what happened, versus what is proscriptive, or commands. Some claim that we should be vegetarians because that was the state in the Garden of Eden. Of course, that assumes that the same plant foods that were in the Garden are present today, which I seriously doubt. Also, just because the Bible describes people eating bread, doesn’t mean we are commanded to do so. The only New Testament command I see to eat bread is for communion, and that is a small, inconsequential amount. Bread could also be a metaphor for food and “breaking bread” could mean sharing a meal, which may or may not include bread. Plus, as others have pointed out, the grains and other plant foods during Biblical times are not necessarily the same as modern varieties.

    I think the main Biblical principle for diet is to eat what is best for YOUR body. If you find that bread isn’t good for you, don’t eat it. If you can tolerate bread, knock yourself out. As many of us say, find what works for you and stick to it for the rest of your life. Just because I don’t believe in evolution, doesn’t mean I’m against true dietary science.

    My approach is – in God I trust, all others bring data.

  • Jonathan

    This guy is a geologist that used to believe Evolution but God showed him the truth in the Bible.
    http://gospelwitnesses.com/

  • ethyl d

    Thanks to George above for his contribution of the very intelligent and theologically sound commentaries on the Orthodox website.

    The only other thing I might add to the comments discussion is that it would appear God made the human body capable of surviving on just about any foods people could find anywhere they migrated–or make themselves as technology developed–and capable of thriving on the bounty of nature wherever they found it. Lots of traditional peoples all over the world do quite well on whatever they can harvest locally from nature. It seems to me that for Christians, another way to describe the Paleo way of eating could be to think of it as eating what is available to us from the earth’s plants and animals through the generosity of the God of creation.

    As many in the modern scientific community have divorced themselves from belief in God, we are seeing all sorts of freakish applications of science, and definitely among these the manipulation of our food supply into aberrations not fit for humans to eat.

  • Cord

    In the context of food history, I find the story of Cain and Abel fascinating. Cain was an agriculturalist, growing plants. Abel was a herdsman. They both brought sacrifices to God from what they had raised, but God liked Abel’s better. Then Cain was jealous and killed Abel. It’s easy to look at it as a parable of what happens throughout human history when agrarian cultures meet up with pastoral cultures. Cain kills Abel. But why does God like Abel better? Why is Cain’s sacrifice of grain inferior? On days when I’m feeling sarcastic, I think it’s because Cain was grumpy because grain is an unnatural thing to eat and it was causing him inflammation, paranoia, and aggression (all known effects of wheat on wheat-intolerant people). I don’t take this too seriously, though ;)

  • Keath Cole

    God wants us to eat Cheetos. It is written.

  • Bob Scherago

    You say “I really enjoy philosophical questions about nutrition from my readers because it means they are giving serious thought to this whole concept of livin’ la vida low-carb and not just blindly following it. . .” Yet here you are talking about being a Christian. Are you not “blindly following” teachings of an ancient people with absolutely no evidence to support them?

    • http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com Jimmy Moore

      Without delving into a deep discussion of my own personal belief system, I choose to live my life based on faith in a God who has provided for me time and time again. The evidence is what I see happening in my own life.

  • Michael

    Science and faith are separate realms. The realm of science belongs to things that are testable or potentially testable. The realm of faith belongs to things that are not. They shouldn’t be at odds. Problems arise when people intertwine the two.

    I am not a Christian but I think it amazing that some parables and metaphors from the bible – after centuries of translations and changes in times, culture, history, and knowledge – still hold applicable lessons. But I guess the big difference from me is that I never viewed the bible as a rule book or instruction manual, but as a tool.

  • http://freetheanimal.com Richard Nikoley

    For those who might be interested in my more in-depth thoughts on this issue, as well as alternatives to a _literal_ belief system I’ve done up a post on it.

    http://freetheanimal.com/2010/11/jimmy-moore-the-muckraker-paleo-and-christianity.html

    Jimmy is to be commended for the courage to bring these issues up for open discussion.

  • http://lowcarbage.com Frank Hagan

    I am an evangelical Christian, but I also accept evolution as scientific fact. None of the major doctrines of Christianity are “harmed” by accepting all truth, including scientific truth, but minor doctrines, held by some denominations, take a hit.

    Is your salvation any less valid if the earth was created by God using a natural process of evolution over billions of years instead of within 7 days? Is God changed in any way? Is the truth of Christ’s birth, his death, and his bodily resurrection affected in any way? There are doctrines that are affected, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out which ones.

    I abandoned a literal view of Genesis when I realized it couldn’t have been written to be taken literally. The days are described as light and darkness, but the sun is not created until the third or fourth day. Yet the text clearly shows that the sun divides the day. When the Bible tells us it is presenting us with allegory, as Psalm 91:4 does, we should take it as such. God is not a bird, and Genesis 1 was not intended to be taken literally.

    Beyond that, noted evangelicals such as Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project and now director of the NIH, reconcile a conservative faith in Christ with a modern scientific understanding of the world. See http://biologos.org/questions for more on Collins’ views.

    Finally, don’t be discouraged by having to sort through this. If God wanted us to have a holy book easy to understand he would have had Jesus write it. Instead, he gave us a faith that includes a lot of uncertainty, and apparent contradictions, and we have to use our brains to reason through them. I don’t believe that’s an accident. Its no wonder that out of western culture, with its debate, reason and compromise even to compile its canon of Scripture, rose modern science and human freedom.

  • jon w

    Yes the bible urges consumption of bread, as well as many other things that don’t make sense in the real world. Science and common sense tells me that bread is bad for me, so I have to reject the bible.

  • Candice Sparks

    Greetings Brother Jimmy Moore and to all the rest of you kind folks, I’m also Bible believing Christian. I am very joyful to hear you confess your faith in Jesus as a Christian. I have been listening in on your numerous podcasts for quite some time and really enjoy them. They’re quite interesting. Now I must confess, I have been a low carbo at least a year before I came across your site. I’ve started on a low carb, high fat, moderate protein nutritional plan due to health reasons. I was eating a high carb, sort of low fat, moderate protein nutritional plan for most of my life, but noticed that my health was declining more rapidly than it should especially as I was approaching my 30s. I thought maybe it was the red meat and pork I was eating so I stop eating pork and ate very little red meat. I also thought it was the milk and cheese so I stop those as well and eventually replaced them with soy milk instead. I thought that might help me to only find out the noticeable weight gain, especially around my midsection, joint pains, back pains, easily exhausted, heavy menstrual cycles, extremely painful migraines, severe IBS, and sveral other problems. One day I came across some disturbing information regarding the dangers of soy milk, how a high carb diet can actually damage my health far more than red meat and pork can, and the sweet poison called sugar, not just table sugar, but corn syrup, HFCS, artificial sweeteners, and any store brought fruit juices. Store brought fruit juices, in fact contain more sugar than sodas does. I read some testimonies of people who ate a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet and experienced rapid weight loss, so I decided to give it a try. I’ve noticed rapid improvement of my overall health, reduction in my waistline, and the disappearence of most of my health problems. Now, I do love to eat plenty of veggies, fruits, and herbs along with my meats, animal fats, and dairy, but I must caution all that its’ not a good idea to consume some things in combination because that could really tear your stomach up. A good example is eating meats with sweet fruits or even potatos due to their high glycemic index. I also do not believe in eating raw meats much mainly because of blood; its’ just plain disgusting to me and I ain’t eating nobody’s blood, forget it! I believe that it was quite obvious why God forbade the Israelites from drinking/eating blood. One reason is that blood consumption was considered an unclean and abomidable act. Blood is pathogenic to our health. God gave His people specific instructions on how meat were to be prepared for consumption. The Isaelites put their meats over the fire (cooked) as instructed by God while Egypt and other pagan cultures ate raw meat and drank blood mainly for pagan rituals. We were actually meant to live on a vegetarian diet before sin entered into the world and then things changed. Just read the Old Testament. I definitely don’t believe in evolution or the idea that all ancient humans were just cavemen/hunter-gatherers. If you believe what the Bible says, many cultures were settlers in their own land while those who lived in the clefts of hills (caves) were considered uncleaned, uncivlized outcasts or what we called today cavemen. My question is why would anyone in their right mind want to follow the example of such people, how insane can that be. Adam and Eve were not cavemen, they were actually rulers over the whole world who were mandated by God to take care of the earth. I also must mention that the breads that the ancient people ate were quite different from the breads of today. For one thing, their breads were very carefully prepared (fermented & sprouted) without all the harmful modern processes of today and quite more nutritious than today’s breads. Some cultures still make their breads that way.

  • kellgy

    I haven’t ever smiled for the duration of an entire comment section before this post. The content is animated and very opinionated. Surprise, I know.

    It really is beautiful to see some of us arguing very personal beliefs: if, in the end, we remain cordial, light-hearted, and continue to respect our fragile humanity on this fantastic planet.

    I am surprised you didn’t mention politics. I venture to guess most of us are probably more aligned in that area than this one.

    Thanks for the gift, Jimmy.

  • Lucy

    Your original questioner wrote “At what time in human history were we hunter/gatherers?” My philosophy is to answer “at a time before recorded history”. Allow me to attempt to explain how that correlates with a 7-day literal creation view.

    The earth and all that is on it, the solar system and the universe surrounding it are incredibly and wonderfully complex, and complexity in the interactions between all these elements bespeaks to me, simply to one thing- a complete system. If we were not part of a bigger system (life and elements on earth), and then an even bigger system (our universe and the influence of solar cycles)and so on, nothing would have survived for 7,000 years without direct, daily influence from the creator of all of these otherwise individual, uninteracting elements. But if God created a system, self sustaining, then all of this life is possible.

    So the only question remains, at what point in the cycle of life within this system did God fling it into being? A more abbreviated question would be, “How old was Adam when God created him”?

    Just as we hold Adam to be a full grown man at creation, and we know, intellectually, that he represented the growth of a human from a little tiny babe, and we know how babies come into being, so we must view the earth, the solar system, and the universe. The difference is we know far less about how an planet comes into being than a tiny babe. That, however, is a limitation of our current knowledge as humans, and not an indication that God might hold different standards for the birth and death of humans than the birth and death of planets. God, after all, is not the author of confusion.

    Can evolution explain how earths come into being? Personally, I and many top theorists doubt that the Theory of Evolution is indeed the right answer. But I do not doubt that someday humans may come upon the “right” answer.

  • Geoff

    Evolutionary psychology has come to the rescue on matters of faith – I recommend Prof Robin Dunbar on this, last chapter of his book, “How many friends does one person need?” – the chapter entitled is ‘How evolution found God’.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Many-Friends-Does-Person-Need/dp/0571253423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290464017&sr=8-1#reader_0571253423

    My take on things (unrelated to Dunbar’s account, which I won’t spoil):
    There was no mental health assessment – but an accepted diagnosis of demon possession. No awarenes of the diversity of human experience – I expect the plains indians of the americas were living closer to paleo at the time.
    Their world was flat – heaven was up there somewhere.

    There is no point trying to combine paleo analysis with religious texts of the ancient world. Do the paleo thing and believe whatever motivates you to be of service to the world.

  • Geoff

    And in response to Lucy – re how the earth came into being,
    I don’t know how it came into being, its a wonderful mystery.
    Life is precious and awe inspiring and amazing without adding anything else to it. The simple counter question is – who created God?

    • Lucy

      Belief in God is a choice, therefore there is no need to ask that question. Those that choose to believe in God have different conversations from those that don’t. We all choose behaviors based on our belief systems.

    • Charley

      Contemplation of life’s origins is also awe-inspiring and amazing. In fact, I’d argue that it’s not only a necessity but an obligation.

      And certainly you’d agree that Lucy’s idea that an all-powerful God doesn’t have the need to be created is a much more logical idea than the idea that Earth didn’t need to be created. Scientifically, matter must be created – God on the other hand does not.

  • Adam

    I think it’s silly to base one’s life on a literal interpretation of a horribly translated version of a story created by people that was intended to be allegorical. If one properly understands that this is what the Bible really is, then there is no conflict. At most, the Bible should be used as a starting point for discussions of morality.

  • Jason Clark

    I am a Christian man, and I believe and strive to live by every word of the Bible. When Paleo diet came across my information path I was in the process of attmepting a triathlon, the question and issue of Creation vs Evolution came up in my mind as well. For me this is how I answered it, I have not found any mention of agriculture, or farming i.e. wheat eating prior to the Fall of man. So for me this is how I see that Adam and Eve would have eaten and that is justification enough for me. Post fall it immediately starts with Cain and Able, and while I realize there are several references to bread and wheat and other possibly gluten containing items, I believe that all of Creation was affected by the fall so toxicity of gluten would have also been affected, the Scripture says “Creation yearns for the sons of God” so that separation seems to have contributed tot hat toxicity at least in my thinking, so I eat Low Card/Paleo and it is clear and fine with me in my Spirit. As a double check I have taken it to my pastor and discpler and he sees no issue so that is all I need to know. Maybe this helps someone out there.

  • http://childrenofabel.blogspot.com/ Franklin Mason

    Of course one could adopt a paleo-type diet and simply ignore its foundation in human evolution.

    But is it really possible to stifle your curiosity? The human body does after all have a certain design, and it came by that design in a certain way. Moreover, that designs dictates the optimal human diet; we do best when we eat the diet for which our body is designed. If you say only that “God did it”, you really have no explanation of the body’s design. You place the cause outside the natural world; you put it in a being inscrutable to the human mind. Explanations illuminate; they make clear how things work. “God did it” is no explanation at all. It’s a retreat from explanation. It’s intellectual fakery.

    Frank Hagan (21st, 7:49 pm) gives a good description of how a Christian can without fear of logical contradiction embrace evolution and so avoid the “God did it” non-explanation of human origins. But I find that view ultimately weak. Christianity would seems to require that God take a special interest in human beings, since we alone are made “in God’s image”. But when we view Homo sapiens as a product of evolution, this seems false. Life has existed on this planet for billions of years. Many species have come; most are now gone. We are a very late arrival on the scene, and our continued existence seems no more certain than the species that came before. We seem quite non-special. Moreover, there seems absolutely no necessity to our existence at all. We are the product of a myriad of contingent evolutionary forces. Like any other particular species, we’re damn unlikely; and if you were to rewind evolution and let it go again, you’d get a very different species-set. Almost certainly we wouldn’t be here had things been different in any of a vast number of ways that they could easily have been different.

    Unless of course you suppose that God just let evolution go for billions of years and then inexplicably reached down a few million years ago to raise up a species of primate and make it into his image. This seems just another instance of the “God did it” pseudo-explanation.

    Here’s the deal I think. The foundation of the paleo diet is the fact of human evolution and how it formed us. Take away that foundation and there’s no reason to take it seriously. I find the views summed up in the paleo diet (really a paleo way of life) to be deeply intellectually satisfying. It tells me who I am and how to live if I’m to thrive. We are a production of evolution, and as we flesh out the story of human evolution we get an ever-clearer idea of who we are and what we’re designed to be.

  • Bernadette

    I’m glad to see this topic brought up! Thanks, Jimmy.

    I’m a bible believing Christian and I follow a paleo diet because I feel it’s best for my health and it makes me feel awesome.

    There is no biblical mandate for Christians to consume grains or dairy products. These foods have also been modified and messed with so much by humans that they are very different from the grains that were consumed in biblical times.

    From the evolutionary biology perspective, I feel that there is plenty modern scientific evidence to support the paleo diet… I don’t feel the need to rely on the evolutionary perspective to convince me of it’s efficacy.

  • Suzan

    I’m a Christian, and I know that I feel better when I avoid almost all grains/sugar. I don’t have to agree on every single point of a Paleo/Primal eating plan to know that I feel much better when I eat this way. The crap that passes for food these days is not REAL food. I think that God would want us to eat REAL food. Almost all grains are no longer REAL, because they’ve been messed with. If people want to study what folks ate millions of years ago or thousands of years ago, hey, I’m not going to argue new/old earth theory or evolution/creation because it isn’t a theological discussion, it’s about food, and we are all free to choose our food. We agree to disagree and move on. And regarding bread – I’ve heard that argument before in church. My answer is that bread can be made with many different ingredients – and some of them aren’t grains at all. I don’t think the Bible indicates anywhere that everyone eat bread made from only wheat. Anyway, IMO, “bread” was not always used literally in the bible. I really dislike animosity or ridicule among Atheists and Christians who follow a Paleo/Primal diet. Live and let live. We have a common goal – we all want to be healthy and fit, and we hope that others will also do the same. So my answer to your questions is – Absolutely.

  • http://thegetnakedproject.com James

    I find it strange that a Christian (of which I am one), would struggle with this. I believe that all truth is God’s truth…but sometimes it is discovered through non-religious means. I find the argument that “God made edible grains, so we should eat them,” a bit absurd…as, yes they are edible, but not for humans. You also, when you make that argument, have to concede that since there was no death in the Garden of Eden, humans were not designed to eat meat (in fact no animal was). So either there was a post fall change that took place instantly or evolutionarily, that made it possible (if not necessary) for some animals to eat the flesh of others. I wrote about this some time ago in an article . Further…just because someone did something in the Bible doesn’t make it right. They ate bread…but that is not a command to eat grains, it’s simply a description of what they did. I think some believers are too sensitive to the language of the Paleo movement.

  • RockyBob

    Oh my goodness, theology has come to a dietary science discussion. How to reconcile age old stories written by limited humans centuries ago. To paraphrase Sam Harris, if we were to somehow bring a human forward in time from the middle ages to today and ask that person what he new about anything (medicine, germs, disease, cosmology, genetics, materials science, and so on) his knowledge and understanding of anything would be essentially 100% wrong. And yet, for some bizarre reason, ask him about religion and regardless of what he would say, there would be some segment of Americans who would embrace his thoughts as 100% correct. (Ironically, as a previous comment observed, the vast majority of the earth’s populace would disagree with his thoughts no matter what he espoused. Many would justify killing him for his beliefs.)
    For those brave enough to read it, I highly recommend Dr. Harris’s new book, “The Moral Landscape”.

    • Charley

      I fail to follow the logic of your post. In other words, because a human from the middle ages knew less about science, somehow an omnipresent God couldn’t reveal to him/her fundamental truths about the existence of life itself?

  • Bill DeWitt

    LOL… both “bread” and “meat” are wide, figurative terms, not detailed descriptions. I “break bread” today with a steak and salad. Jesus told us that the folks who didn’t want to understand the parables would never be able to, because they would take them too literally. Most of the Bible is either clearly figurative or might be. Lastly, the Bible is there to tell us how to save our souls, not how to fix our cars, brush our teeth or lose weight and live a fit healthy life. It contains everything a Christian needs to find God, but there are some other things that we might need to be healthy while we do that.

  • MikeEnRegalia

    I’m an Atheist, and skimming through the various “apologetics”, while somewhat entertaining, also made me wonder: how delusional do people get because of their religion?`

    The answer to “Can A Christian Follow A Paleo Low-Carb Diet?” is:

    Sure – by ignoring their religion. By compartmentalizing their mind like some religious scientists manage to do – believing in God in their leisure time and in reality while they’re doing research.

    People, please – wake up to reality. Believe in the explanation that actually makes sense, not excuses.

    • RockyBob

      Mike, might I suggest a terminology change. I am not an “atheist” anymore than I’m not an “apsychic” or an “asorcerist”. I am simply not a “theist”, nor am I a believer in psychics or sorcery. It might seem trivial, but identifying theists for what they are rather than the rest of us for what we are not puts the shoe back on the right foot. Same goes for agnostic, literally “without knowledge”. There are countless ideas that are unsupported by objective evidence, and as an appreciator of the scientific approach, I make no judgment pending some credible evidence to support the idea. That doesn’t make me agnostic to every unsupported idea. In short, there are theists, believers in witchcraft, believers in clairvoyance, believers in UFO’s, and there are the rest of us.

      • Charley

        Mike,

        A creator of the universe makes much more scientific sense than anything I’ve heard up to this point. Take for instance the idea of an expanding universe – what? How can anyone possibly fathom the idea that the universe stops? What does it stop at? What stops it? If it stops, how do we distinguish that it has stopped? Doesn’t there have to be some form of matter on the other side in order to say it has stopped? But we don’t have to go that far – just look around. Every atom precisely placed on Earth so that we are able to function properly and all that came about by random chance? That’s more logical than a creator? Not to mention the fact that the human mind can even contemplate it’s own existence. For a much better philosophical approach to science, see GK Chesterton’s Orthodoxy.

      • Charley

        RockyBob,

        The principles of logic are scientific and are no less evidentiary than physical science. Just as circumstantial evidence in a criminal case is more than sufficient to meet the burden of beyond a reasonable doubt, logic and the fundamentals of philosophy are more than sufficient to show that a God must and does exist. There are many brilliant theologians to help you with the notion including Aristotle, Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, GK Chesterton, CS Lewis, the Fathers of the Church, Pope Benedict XVI and so on and so on. I also suggest intellectual blogs such as First Things, Inside Catholic and the Catholic Thing. You scientists would be encouraged to know that the Catholic Church has always accepted the notion of the interplay of science and faith. See Pope John Paul the Great’s Fides et Ratio (faith and reason). Some of most significant scientists in the history of the world were Jesuit priests.

        • RockyBob

          Not sure where my first response went, but I’m curious who the “most significant scientists in the world” that were also Jesuit priests. I’m pretty sure that in the last 100 years there have been no cosmologists or astronomers or physicists who have utilized any theistic belief in any meaningful way in their profession. Some may compartmentalize their work and their religious beliefs, but I don’t think you’ll find any scholarly paper in physics, chemistry, biology, paleontology, or geology that says anything like “see, this proves/ demonstrates the existence of a god.” And not that some wouldn’t like to do such a thing. Look at the best picture we have today of the structure of the visible Universe. Orderly but random. Computer modeling simulates this structure from a few simple assumptions (no deity included). And certainly, as opposed to most theological ideas, neither our galaxy, our solar system, or our earth have any favored position. Best evidence is that our “special” planet is one of thousands if not millions of habitable planets in our galaxy alone. This is a far cry from the ideas of Aristotle and Aquinas.
          I’d disagree that the Catholic Church has “always accepted the notion of the interplay of science and faith.” Seems to me theists burn heretics at the stake when they can get away with it. Scientists rarely resort to such actions…

  • Kevin G.

    Nobody else mentioned it, so I guess I will, but the Bible’s recipe for bread (Ezekiel 4:12) calls for barley to baked with human dung (as a fuel, not an ingredient, I’m hoping). If you’re going to be flexible enough to do away with the dung, then why not go all the way and get rid of the grain as well?

  • http://paleohund.blogspot.com Paleohund

    I enjoyed Robb Wolf’s Galileo reference, as well as Diana Hsieh’s point that issues such as the near sacrifice of children, drunken incest, and slavery are presented in addition to bread.

    I am glad the issue was brought up. Literally interpreting the bible is bound to get you into trouble. (Stay out of Leviticus please for everyone’s sake!) Eat your bread and waddle out of your church every Sunday sick and diseased. Oh, and pray the pearly gates are not narrow.

  • Lindsay

    I have always been taught that my body is the temple of God and i need to take care of it. I am on the paleo diet and I feel leaner, stronger, and more healthy than I ever have before. I praise God by taking the best care of his temple that I can and eating this way is an important part of that for me.

  • http://onlywanttwothings.wordpress.com Edith McKlveen

    I am a Christian. After a couple of years of struggling to find the right low-carb diet for me, I have found it and am doing well. I consider it an answer to prayer, and I don’t see how, in any way shape or form, it negates my faith.

    Since God made grain, and since it has sustained many people in hard times when they could not get meat, my take on things is that grain-based food is not evil in and of itself. It’s eating it in mass quantities in lieu of meat and leafy vegetables that’s the problem.

    Also, please show me where it says in the Bible that I will go to hell if I don’t consume mass quantities of corn, wheat, barley, oats, etc.

    Edith

  • http://lifelongabs.com Will

    Diana Hsieh’s comments obviously come from an anti-Christian perspective. The Bible teaches us about the problem of sin, what it is and what it deserves. We are fallen incomplete humans that will never truly live without God’s spirit inside of us.

    Anyway, as other commentators have mentioned, nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to eat grains. Sure, there is communion, but that was essentially a remembrance meal, eating bread was simply what was on the table when Jesus instituted it (a lot of churches no longer use alcohol).

    Secondly, we all have to face the facts that there are many cultures both living today and throughout history that have lived healthily while eating high carb diets (check out http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com or http://www.westonaprice.org if you haven’t already). Yes, Paleo eating is a great way to eat healthily, stay lean and avoid modern diseases – but plenty of people have done that in human history by eating grains.

    Thirdly, (and if you absolutely disagree with the above paragraph) you can still eat Paleo and remain fundamentalist Christian. The context of Jesus saying “I am the bread of life” was simply that He was referring to the staple food of that time, something you keep going back to from day to day for sustenance. If He’d been in another culture He may have referred to Himself as rice, or potato or even beef (if He’d been Argentinian instead of Jewish)!

    So, as in all interpretation of the Bible, we must take context into account (in this case cultural context). If He’d have said, “I am the pork belly of life”, it would have totally made no sense (pork was forbidden for a start – which by the way is clearly allowed for all Christians now that the new covenant is in place, I love my pork belly!).

    Remember, “It is good” was God’s response to everything He created – and that includes bacon and eggs!

  • Sasha

    It is sad that this topic even has to be addressed. I do not understand why do Christians who have the tendency to interpret the Bible literally even bother with dabbling into any form of science especially something that deals with evolution as much as paleo nutrition. They are bound to find many things that are not going to be compatible so I’d just recommend them to either go with the rest of the modern world and realize that The Bible is not meant to be taken word for word but for it’s greater meaning(if you think there is one) or to just block out all scientific research and enclose themselves into a wonderful world of The Bible where humans and animals popped out of nothing fully formed and had a wonderful garden full of fruit and veg to eat.(never mind hydrochloric acid in our stomachs, it was put there by scientists to test our faith)

    The US is the most religious country in the industrialized world and we call ourselves free? This is the only place in the world where creationists are not widely ridiculed but elected as presidents under the premise that blind faith is somehow patriotic. And this is the only place in the western world where people of science actually have to defend their ideas and try to find ways to make it compatible with the “holy scriptures” – The Bible is not considered as a valid counter argument to anything in scientific discourse and that is something people often forget around here.

  • Vox Stack

    Aside from the excellent point made by Kim earlier that the “Ezekiel 4:9 bread” was symbolic of God’s punishment against the house of Judah, the very eating of bread is part of God’s curse against Adam and Eve as they were driven from the Garden of Eden (Gen.3:18-19). Bread is a part of God’s curse that goes along with hard sweaty manual labor, pain in childbirth, and having to put up with snakes. We’ve figured out how to avoid most of these negatives in the last 150 years, so why should the bread punishment be treated any differently.

    Additionally, in Gen.4, Cain was a farmer and Able was a stockman. They both sacrificed part of their yield to God, but God was not impressed with Cain’s grain. Perhaps there is a side lesson in diet here to go along with the requirement for blood sacrifice. Just food for thought.

  • Mitch J

    I found your explaination to be right on Su! As a low carb/christian follower I thank you! (response to Su Bratchies comments Nov 17)

  • Eric

    A careful reading of Genesis 1 and 2 reveals to us that the days are not intended to be chronological (especially Genesis 2:5) and therefore the Bible does not necessary teach a young earth view.

    The Bible does not teach the exact nature of how God created man,especially in any kind of scientific manner, nor does it teach how old the earth is.

    This is simply not the intention of the text.

    The Bible likewise does not teach scientific details about the solar system. It does not teach that the earth is the center of the universe, but that from man’s perspective on earth the sun moves around us. It is true that the sun seems to move throughout the day from sunrise to sunset, but that doesn’t mean the Bible teaches that the sun rotates around the earth — it simply doesn’t address those questions, why should it?

    The purpose of the scriptures are to testify to Christ and lay out the drama of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation.

    Jesus explained to the disciples on the road to Emmaus that all of scriptures pointed to and are fulfilled in Him.

    —-

    Genesis 1:1-2:3 presents us with the picture of God’s performing His creative work in the space of six days marked off in order by the rhythmic cadence of the six-fold evening-morning refrain. The framework interpretation is the view that this picture functions as a figurative framework in which the eight divine fiats are narrated in a non-sequential or topical order. The days are ordinary solar days, but taken as a whole, the total picture of the divine work week is figurative. Although the temporal framework has a non-literal meaning, the events narrated within the days are real historical events of divine creative activity.

    This being said, an orthodox Christian must believe that Adam was a historical man, especially in light of Jesus’ work as a second Adam (see Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framework_interpretation_(Genesis)

  • http://www.fireofthegodsfitness.blogspot.com Paul

    I couldn’t tell from my brief scan if Dr. William Davis posted, but I think he’s pointed out that there’s a significant difference between the metabolic impact of bread made from ancient (relative to how long we’ve been eating it) strains of grain vice the dwarf mutant grains we stuff ourselves with today – http://www.heartscanblog.blogspot.com. It’s also significant to consider the context of being an israelite – emerging from but being put back into HG status (aka ‘wandering in the wilderness’ for 40 years), all the while perceiving, in the language of the Bible’s authors, that being an agriculturalist brings you closer to being able to have a god state, an identity, the ability to have priests and other specialists. IOW – HGs survive by being out of conflict with the far more populous agriculturalists – the agriculturalists have the ability to sustain a state, an army, a nation, a ‘national identity.’ Whether you see these things as right, wrong or indifferent, they are the geo-political realities inherent in the Israelite experience. It’s entirely possible that having 90% of the population working long, hard days to feed the rest, on a much less toxic variety of bread, would in fact be the ‘staff of life’ for those people. They would also likely have soaked and fermented the dough, thus reducing the already less potent negatives of their ‘aboriginal’ bread as food. I don’t see this a being in conflict with the paleo movement, which simply advocates eating the food god made to be available for people from the ‘beginning’, which was ‘before agriculture.’ God certainly blessed the eating of meat as evidenced in the story of Cain and Abel. Paul

    • http://www.fireofthegodsfitness.blogspot.com Paul

      In other words, if folks farmer the same variety of wheat as the Israelites, ground it and prepared like it was prepared in Biblical times, the downside would be completely different than what we see now with mass produced versions of dwarf, mutant wheat strains.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-Ellen-Nissley/100000772935826 Mary Ellen Nissley

    I do think that a lower-carbohydrate diet may be healthier in the modern world than it would have been in Bible times.

    For one thing, exercise allows for a higher intake of carbohydrates, as
    long as sugars are restricted.  In Bible times, people generally got far
    more exercise than we do today.

    Also, the grains of Bible times were not hybridized and genetically
    modified.  Modern man is having more and more reaction against these
    unnatural grain forms. I had an allergy attack today, from eating
    sausage- I do not know what was in it that triggered the attack. That is
    the problem- we do not know what is in our food anymore.  What looks
    like wheat or corn may in fact have genes from other species inside it-
    and these GMO foods do trigger allergies.

    Granted, grain-fed beef and mass-produced pork or chicken are also
    problematic. However, it is easier to find or raise meats that are
    closer to what God intended us to consume, than it is to find or raise
    the same kind of grains that Jesus ate.

    And finally, our genes are wearing out.  We are developing more and more
    genetically-based diseases.  Our chromosomes become damaged from wear
    and tear, chemical exposure, and age.  We mutate, and pass those
    mutations on to our children. Thus, the older the human race becomes,
    the more problems we develop.  Some people do better on a vegetarian
    diet, while others do better on a Paleo-style diet, not because of
    evolution, but because of devolution.  We each need to do the best we
    can, to find the diet that works for us individually.

  • Guest

    I’m missing the connection between “breaking bread” and eating grain.  When I refer to “breaking bread” or “fellowship” with my church family, I’m just talking about eating with them, not eating BREAD with them.  Just break bacon;)

  • Stefanie

    I would love to add that when yo study scripture that there was reasoning from God when he made the law. With dietary things as in eating kosher at that time that was the healthier and safe way of eating, because they didn’t have the understanding of cleanliness, that was also why He spoke about cleanliness. They didn’t have the Doctors or ways of researching what was really good for them, God had to teach them. Also what they eat including breads was not chemically induced as it is now. Since world war II are diet of chemical have made us sick and maybe its time for us to see a better way of eating and using the intellect God gave us to do that. I am a 32 year old women that has celiac because of the foods I have been eating since child hood and the paleo way of eating is what will change that for me.
    Thank you for your articles and putting this out there especially for believers who struggle in deciding to change their life style. Remember God has called us to be His temple and we as believers need to do what we can to take care of the temple.