Derek begins today by going over some recommendations for preventing cancer. He then talks about exercise, gives a list of dietary needs, and discusses findings from U.S. departments concerning various food groups. His concern for our health is clearly apparent in these messages.
There’s a few recommendations about how to prevent cancer. Basically they all deal with what we eat or drink. There are seven of them. Avoid obesity, number one. Two, reduce fat intake. Number three, eat more high fiber foods. If you don’t know what they are, find out. Number four, eat more vitamin A and C enriched foods. Number five, eat more cruciferous vegetables. Number six, moderate salt cured, smoked and nitrate-cured foods. Number seven, moderate consumption of alcohol.
Basically, it’s not a complete presentation, because exercise is not dealt with, but basically everything concerns what we eat or drink. You can eat yourself or drink yourself to death with cancer. Heart attack causes, mainly through diet, heredity, and habits. Our heredity we can’t change. Our diet and our habits we can change. Most of us need to change our habits of exercise.
Our garbage disposal didn’t work properly. So we have a contract with a maintenance firm and he came and fixed it. He said, “The problem is, you haven’t been using it.” And that’s the problem with a lot of our muscles. They were made to be used, not to be sat on. Listen, you’re laughing, but isn’t what I’m saying true?
Then, about stroke prevention. Weight control, number one. Exercise, number two. Amount and type of fats ingested and potassium, calcium and magnesium intake. High fiber foods. How many of you know what high fiber foods are? A few. It’s important to find out.
Now I have a rather penetrating analysis by an American Internal Medicine specialist. This takes a few moments to read. “One of the most glaring errors in health care in this country and perhaps the world, is the lack of attention to the concept of prevention. It seems that part of human nature is to deny the possibility of illness until it occurs. Once it occurs we will do and pay just about anything to regain what we lost. If our families, schools and media would focus on a few of these areas, we would reduce pain and suffering and reduce billions of dollars spent after the fact on health care.”
Now it says, our families, schools and media. Why leave out our churches? Wouldn’t it be something for our churches to deal with? Do we care about the total person that’s in our church, or do we just care about their souls? Somebody said sarcastically about the Christian church, “They don’t care about people’s bodies. They just deal with souls prepackaged for eternity.” I think it’s a reproach on the church that we don’t face this issue. Incidentally, you know the largest industry in the United States today? It’s not manufacturing. It’s health. It’s the largest industry in the nation today. It really isn’t a health industry. It’s the ill-health industry. Because health doesn’t cost much. Ill-health costs a lot.
Then this Internal Medical Specialist goes on and he’s speaking as an American to Americans. “First of all, we are a country of excess. The average American is obese and under-exercised. We orient ourselves around the TV and with the watching of the TV comes the eating.” That really, I’m afraid, is probably true of most professing church members. We don’t orient ourselves around the Bible and prayer. The really important times of the day are when we watch television.
A recent article in Prevention Magazine noted that one easy way to reduce weight is to reduce television time to one hour a day. The people of this country, in general, eat to the point of being stuffed rather than content. We also eat our biggest meal at dinner when our activity and caloric needs are the least. So here’s a suggestion. Dietary needs for Americans.
Eat a variety of foods.
Maintain healthy weight.
Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and grain products.
Use sugars only in moderation.
Use salt and sodium only in moderation.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
That comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This is a little diagram called a food pyramid. I’ve been presented with a thing called a laser pointer. I hope I know what to do with it. Now, the bottom, biggest section is bread, cereals, rice and pasta. And we should have about six to eleven servings of those. Then we go up to a second section which is divided in two. On the left is the vegetable group, three to four servings a day. On the right the fruit group. So the two main items of diet should be bread, pasta, cereals, rice. The next two should be vegetables and fruit. Then we go up to the higher level and on the left we have milk, yogurt and cheese. On the right we have meat, poultry, fish and so on. Then right at the top we have sweets and fats. A very minimal part.
Let me ask you, do some of you have the pyramid the wrong way up? Your life can well be at stake. There are people here this day who will either live or die in the next few years according to how you respond to what I am telling you today. I hope you love me. I love you, that’s why I’m telling you this.
I want to ask you this question: Do you treat your car or your house better than your body? Are you actually better informed about the care of your car or your house than you are about your body? Do you devote more time and thought to the care of your car or your house than your body?
See, if your car wears out, which it will do sometime, another one is available. Even if your house burns down, another one is available. Well, when your body wears out, there’s no replacement. That’s it. It’s the end.
Then I want to say dieting is not a remedy. Just settle that in your mind. You can go on 15 different diets and in the end you’ll be worse off than you were before. There’s only one suitable remedy. That is change your lifestyle. Did you hear that? Change your lifestyle.
Then I want to ask you a question, just to think about it. The people who sell you your food, are they more interested in your health or your money? They’re not primarily concerned with doing you good. They’re primarily concerned with getting dollars from you. Some of them are very ethical and wonderful people, but some are very unscrupulous. They’ll do anything they can to make you spend more money on food. And a large part of the advertising industry is devoted to that.
Incidentally, that pyramid that I put up was brought out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Life, and for three months it was held up. It wasn’t published. You know why? Because the meat industry lobbied against it intensively. Were they concerned with your health or were they concerned with your money? Eventually the government decided no matter what they say we’ve got to do it. We owe it to the people to publish this truth.
Now, I want to give a little word of personal testimony, because I am speaking from experience, not from theory. In 1986 Ruth and I were on holiday in a hotel in Austria and the food was just wonderful, delicious! And one day we were sitting in front of a big piece of deep-fried fish with french fries somewhere on the side, and we’d been drinking strong coffee, not without cream, and we usually ended with an ice cream, not always Ruth but myself. And as we looked at that fish on that plate and all the fat we said to ourselves, “This really is not good for us.” And we decided to pray a very simple prayer included in our grace. Every day we’ve prayed this prayer, “Help us to eat wisely.” We had no idea of the ramifications of that prayer. It has changed our lifestyle. Not instantly, but step by step by step.