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The unclean foods of life

In the garden of Eden, God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it (Genesis 1:29).” This includes nuts, grains, legumes, and seeds. Our digestive tract is 12 to 14 times the distance from our shoulder to our hip (Amazingdiscoveries.org).

Translated into ordinary English, it means that our best diets consist of grains, seeds and nuts — to which we might add fruits or vegetables, but not both. The fruit is digested first, then the grains, then the seeds and finally the nuts. Vegetables take much longer to digest and, if eaten with fruits, tend to ferment in the gut causing problems. In fact, everything our body requires is contained in grains. But the food companies separate those required foods and sell them to us at a much higher cost. One of the best things you can do for your health is to eat more whole grains — look for the little yellow square and make sure it says “100 percent whole grains.”

“At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, ‘Cornelius!’ Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner; whose house is by the sea.’ When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants. He told them everything that had happened and sent them to Joppa (Acts 10).”

Maybe you remember this passage, after which Peter sees the vision of a sheet containing all the clean and unclean foods in it. It’s not really a vision about foods — he’s on his way to see Cornelius who is a Gentile, and therefore unclean. Neither is God giving Peter permission to eat the unclean foods — it is a warning to limit “unclean” to those things God has deemed unclean, and Gentiles like Cornelius are not on God’s unclean list. We humans tend to expand God’s laws, adding clean foods we don’t like to God’s list of unclean foods and even adding people we don’t like to God’s list of unclean things. So, God warns Peter not to do that and to treat Cornelius as a brother.