Healthy living’s best benefits result from consuming whole foods, natural versus synthesized vitamins, and whole soul practices.
Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. They generally require more time and energy to prepare. The payback, however, is less preservatives, sodium, and other potential additives such as soy that many have mild or severe allergic reactions to.
The amount of vitamins and minerals obtained from foods rather than synthetically produced pills or additives is generally modest in comparison. However, often they contain other components that enhance the body’s ability to absorb or utilize them. There are notable exceptions such as vitamin B-12 and B-9 (Folic acid). A substantial number of people do not absorb or properly digest them in their natural state. Consequently the common recommendation is to get them from supplements and fortified foods especially if you are over fifty years old.
Whole meal is an excellent case in point. Whole meal is difficult to buy commercially unlike white flour, whole wheat, or enriched flours. Whole meal is usually ground fresh by the consumer and used or frozen within a few days. It has a short shelf life because it contains not only the endosperm and bran, but, also, the germ which turns rancid in as little as two weeks. To make white flour, commercial millers start by breaking kernels, known as wheat berries, into three parts. The bran contains most of the grain’s fiber and minerals. The germ contains most of the vitamins and unsaturated fats. Finally, the endosperm, which contains most of the grain’s protein, is common to both types of flour. 100 grams of hard red spring wheat berries contains 12.2 grams of fiber, 340 milligrams of potassium, 2.78 milligrams of zinc, and 1.01 milligrams of Vitamin E. Its enriched white flour cousin by comparison contains 2.7 grams of fiber, 107 milligrams of potassium, 0.7 milligrams of zinc, and 0.06 milligrams of Vitamin E. It is cheaper and the body tends to better utilize the nutrients than when they are purchased and consumed separately.
The same results are seen in soul practices commonly referred to as spiritual disciplines or sacred rhythms. These practices included prayer, reading the Bible to hear God’s voice (lectio divina), silence and solitude, Sabbath keeping, and honoring the body. These common rhythms of the Christian life are better together. They bring balance to all of life rather than health to an isolated part or two. Together they form a spiritual rhythm William Barclay described as “a continuous going into the presence of God from the presence of men and coming out into the presence of men from the presence of God.” We must never seek the fellowship of God in order to avoid the fellowship of people but in order to fit ourselves better for it. For example, prayer that does not issue in work is not real prayer.
Attempts to separate worship, discipleship, evangelism, caring ministries, and social action from each other is not uncommon. Neither are attempts to recombine them to suit the purposes and passions of the practitioner regardless of the desire and will of God. These efforts over time yield anemic results. There is no substitute for whole soul goodness.