Deep Thoughts

The quick answer:  Natural food contains all the elements essential to life, in their proper form and ratio.  In contrast, the primary criteria for factory food are cost, shelf life, and taste—not the ability to sustain life, which is difficult to measure.  To ensure the survival of the species, write a weekly menu based on natural food.


In The Dark of the Night

Ever woke up in the dark of the night, unable to get back to sleep?  It happened to me.  Later, sitting alone in the living room, thinking bigger than usual, my thoughts went to the creation of the world, and of our food supply. 

Though incredibly complex, our world is made up of just 92 elements.  Some elements are common, like nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon (the main elements in air), or hydrogen and oxygen (the elements of water).  There’s plenty of carbon in plants too, but some elements are quite rare. 

But here’s the deep question:  Are all the elements essential?  Does each have a purpose?  If you believe a wise and efficient God created—better said, organized—the world it follows that everything in it has a necessary purpose.  I find that easy to accept; it's intuitive.

Which leads to the next question:  Is there a reason for their relative abundance?  This is too complex a question for the wisest scientist to answer, but by the rationale of the last question it follows that there’s both reason and need for the relative abundance of those 92 elements.  We need more of some, just a dash of others.

Take cobalt—it’s the main molecule in vitamin B-12 (also called cobalamine), and we know that B-12 is essential to life.  We need just a bit, but it's essential to our well being.  Or selenium—found in seeds but especially Brazil nuts, and theorized to be protective against certain cancers, like prostate cancer.  It makes sense to me that in time we'll find that all the elements are essential to life in some way. 

Survival of the Species

This is where my mind went during that long night:  The elements—in their relative abundance—are necessary and essential to the planet and to the species that inhabit the earth. 

I believe this, but understand that the question is likewise too complex for Science to answer.  For example, it’s estimated that there are 9 million species of life on the planet.  That includes a certain specie of greatest interest—mankind.

Of the roughly 9 million species, only a million or so have been identified.  The great majority remains unknown.  We’ve done a good job with birds—it’s rare to find an undiscovered bird.  But most species, like the fungi family, are pretty much strangers to us. 

Closer to home, microbiologists have only identified a small fraction of the bacteria that live within our G.I. tract and are our digestive partners.  So the species—and the means for their survival—are so complex they likely will never be fully understood, at lerast by Man.

The Wisdom of Natural Food

As the dawn was breaking I came to this conclusion:  To get all the elements in their proper frequency, it’s best to eat food as close as practical to the form of it’s original creation.  The survival of mankind can best be assured by eating natural foods—meaning plants, with a little meat, as close as practical to their original form.  By doing this, we get the proper amount of all the elements. 

We likely won’t be able to prove in our lifetime that a diet of factory food is a threat to mankind.  But an omniscient God didn’t design factory food.  Factory food was designed to use the cheapest possible materials, and provide the greatest appeal, even addictiveness.  The range and ratio of the elements in factory food is all out of whack.

So, if you’re a God-fearing person, it makes sense that the wisest decision is to eat a diet of minimally processed, natural food and very little factory food.  To do that, you’ll need to eat with purpose, guided by a thoughtfully prepared menu.  No more highly processed foods full of additives like Mac ‘n Cheese, Top Ramen, frozen corn dogs or chicken nuggets, etc.  That was my deep thought of the night.

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Reader Comments (9)

Skip, I agree with you 100%! It just makes logical sense to me that if we eat the foods in the form God made them, they will be good for us. I have a family member that is on the Take Shape for Life program and every time I ate a piece of fruit, she said it had too much sugar to eat. She said this at the same time she was mixing a brownie "meal" to cook in the microwave. It seems this "brownie" has all the nutrients the body needs in it and my apple was seen as "sugar laden and bad for my blood sugar." I just wanted to cry. I could smell the processed food across the house :(

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterApril

Hi April
Thanks for your thoughtful comment. The beautiful wife worried that people wouldn't connect with my middle-of-the-night deep thoughts. But I'm fascinated with the idea that the elements all have a necessary purpose and come in the appropriate abundance. In the end you must balance incomplete science against faith in God's wisdom. It's hard to imagine that Food Inc has it right.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterskip hellewell

Brilliant! This is why I am so fond of the W of W. The one who created the body describes how to take care of the body (and house the spirit well)!

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandra Morris

I really enjoyed this post; it makes sense to me. Over the years, I have had times where I have obsessed too much about defining and eating healthy food, which isn't healthy. I really believe the Word of Wisdom is a great guide; it's simple and yet so powerful; and I believe the part about thanksgiving is essential as well. I've pondered about why we don't get more guidance from general authorities on diet, since the Word of Wisdom was recorded before factory food and doesn't contain specifics. However, as I have sought answers to questions about diet, I have found them; I think it's kind of a higher law.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

Ann, thanks for your response. You raise an interesting issue—the silence of LDS Church leaders in general about the prescriptions of the W of W. My own conclusion is this: The prohibitions (tobacco, etc.) are defined by the Church. The prescriptions (vegetables and fruits in season, grain, sparing meat) must be defined by each member. We're all different and the process of discovering the best diet for each person just seems to fall under personal discovery or revelation—the promised hidden knowledge. But that seems to have been your experience—seeking and finding your own answers. It seems a good model for all, along with the help of W of W Living, of course. Best to you.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterskip hellewell

I truly believe that God created this earth with everything we need right where we can access it. Unfortunately, people seem to think they can do it better- and patent it so they can make a profit. Moderation and variety will allow us to obtain all that we need in our diet. As soil and water quality have decreased, coupled with the effects of pesticides and GMOs in our world, we aren't able to get as much from our foods as we could have in years past. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for us to utilize the things we were given. I have noticed in my youngest daughter that she seems to be particularly lacking in the vital nutrients that are required for health and energy. If I don't fill her up with nutrient dense foods she gets very tired, cranky, pale, and develops dark circles under her eyes. When I add some vegetables or fruit to her meals she is almost instantly a new person. So I am really trying to ensure that I feed my family foods that will nourish them instead of putting more burden on their bodies. This means whole foods that pretty much all prepared at home. No boxed mac'n'cheese or ramen noodles in our house! For quick mac'n'cheese I just cook 2 cups of pasta in 3 cups of milk with a little salt added over medium heat for about 15 minutes- until the pasta is cooked and the milk is thicker, stirring constantly (sometimes I have to add a little water and turn down the heat if the milk is thickening too quickly and the pasta is still hard). I take it off the heat and stir in 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese. It only takes a few more minutes than the boxed stuff, and you can't walk away from it, but the kids love it and it is still a quick meal. I use it as my backup meal- for those times when I am just not feeling like spending a lot of time in the kitchen or we are in a hurry to get out the door.

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

You had to include the corn dogs didn't you Dad. I promise that is not a staple of our diet. And they were turkey, from Trader Joes, so really pretty healthy. (Ha!)

January 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke Reynolds

I have got to admit that I love corn dogs and mac-n-cheese, and my heart fell just a little when I realized, yeah - they're probably not that good for me. Thanks Laura for your mac n cheese recipe, I will be trying that out.

February 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHollie

I've been reading more about healthy soil which is essential for healthy food crops. So much, so very much to do, to learn . . . The air, water, and soil are all shared around the earth through weather. When our bad air clears and we can see the mountains again, that bad air is still out in our earth's atmosphere somewhere. When a dust storm settles over our valley, it brings with it the qualities of another place, another culture. Japan's tsunami wreckage has reached our Pacific shores. We really are our brother's keeper in so many ways. Like the signs that encourage us to consider those who live downstream and keep our junk out of the river, we show concern for others when we take care of our soil and air in healthy ways. I was glad to see that some doctors had formed a group to ask state government officials to do more to clear the winter air of unhealthy smog. Brigham Young is reported to have said that our clean air was a great asset worth preserving. I'm grateful there are people who find natural ways to treat polluted soil and water. Besides cleaning the ingredients that make up soil, we need to add natural ingredients that will replenish the soil and fill our food with all the beneficial elements. Too many crops are harvested from soil that has been engineered for appearance only rather than for health. People who eat healthy food are more likely to feel kindly towards their neighbors; does that sound true? I've heard of the "Twinkie Defense." I spent some time tonight reading from the links to blogs found here at WOWL. Good stuff. Good people. Thanks. Especially enjoyed the pictures from Laguna's farmers market. "A bit of earth" is a great blessing indeed.

February 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

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