What do we need to survive? It’s pretty much common knowledge that we can make it a while without food, but not very long without water. And, what about the items listed on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs? Shelter, security, etc. What can’t we live without?
The theme here is making sure our needs are met. Good health isn’t possible if we’re not getting what we need—note, a need is very different than a want!
Two primal rules to live by are listed below; get plenty of sunlight and eat plants and animals. Light and Food are two things no one can live without. Vitamin D supports numerous processes within our body. Geographic regions with low levels of daily light have populations that are much more prone to depression and diseases related to vitamin D deficiency. Just like vitamin D supports biological processes within our body, nourishment via food—real, good food—does the same thing.
I’m not advising sitting in the brutal oven of high-noon, but exposing a lot of your skin’s bigger surfaces (think your back, arms, or legs), in either the morning or the evening—when the sun isn’t likely to turn your skin into a piece of leather—is a good idea. A slight tan is much better than a painful burn!
- Reduce processed/refined vegetable oils and trans fats
- Reduce sugar
- Stick to mainly veggies and meats
If we don’t eat food, our bodies die, but what happens to our soul if we don’t feed it? And what does a soul require to survive? Jesus is compared to other necessities in the word of God as well.
- Living Water
- the Light of the World
- the Bread of Life
New beginnings and cleanliness
- Before God created light, there was water, Genesis 1
- Then he watered the Earth with springs and rivers, Genesis 2
- Water made a new beginning on the Earth after the flood, Genesis 7
- Jesus began his ministry through water at his baptism, 1 John 5
- Jesus is living water, John 4 & 7, and we’ll have living water flowing from us if we go to him for it.
- Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good…, Genesis 1:3
- This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
A lot of folks use some New Testament verses to argue away Old Testament commands, particularly the ones that define food. If you care to read an awesome article on this topic, check out this piece by Steven M. Collins. Otherwise, we’ll move right into what God calls food.
Remember, God defines food for us! Stop eating everything else—it’s not food, no matter how good the marketing is!
Elimination and Other Diets
There’s an intersection where the goal of elimination and other diets, like low-carb and keto, cross a road called faith. While specific diets may be successful at improving health outcomes, they may also exile foods God calls good. I have a problem with that. Jesus body that was sacrificed for us is symbolized in a piece of bread given at communion. We’re to eat it in remembrance of him. In the old testament, bread made of the finest flour was offered as a sacrifice and was pleasing to God. I don’t think the symbolic sacrifice of Jesus as bread was an accident. I also don’t think bread is something we should turn away from just because it’s not part of a particular diet. With that in mind, I’m not saying go out and buy some Wonder bread. I’m saying, it’s something I question, and I think you’d be wise to question it too. In the primal community and in the broader health sphere, carbs are vilified. While I agree that modern bread is an enemy of good health because it’s heavily processed, I don’t believe bread, prepared in a way congruent with Biblical times, is bad—as long as we don’t idolizing consuming it.
Coming from a background with hidradenitis suppurativa, elimination diets (nightshades in particular) are the top recommendation for ‘healing.’ After spontaneously healing, I ate nightshades consistently for years with not a single flare. It became clear to me after a while that stress caused me to flare, not the nightshade food group. That said, I believe that rather than idolizing a specific diet to chase after one particular goal, having faith in the big picture and appreciating God’s guidance by consuming what he calls food, while living out His commands, yields a synergistic result we can’t even begin to comprehend.
The Old Testament tells us, and Jesus repeats in the New Testament, that we need more than just bread alone to live on—we need the word of God. Jesus is God’s word—personified. Through Him we get what we need to survive—our living water, light, and food. He is our sustenance. This revelation, that what Jesus gives satisfies our needs, puts into perspective that food isn’t the only—or most important—thing necessary for us to survive.
Acknowledgement of our needs, especially those that extend beyond the physical, is where we often find we are lacking something required for good health. For me, that need was peace, as opposed to stress.
In consideration of the above statement, whether you believe in God or not, it’s clear that we need more than just food and sunlight to survive. There’s a spiritual component of each of us that needs to be satisfied.