It may seem improbable that the Bible would contain very clear instructions on diet and nutrition. However, given the longevity of some of the people mentioned in the Bible, this should not be so surprising. Adam lived 930 years, Methuselah 969 years and Noah 950 years – or so we are told. By comparison, Moses managed a paltry 120 years. Most of these patriarchs lived before the great flood or immediately after and it is postulated by some that their ages are not exaggerated, but that the great flood altered the earth’s atmosphere, radiation levels, ozone concentrations and climate which, in turn, effected a host of subtle and / or profound chemical and physiological changes in surviving species. These changes, it is argued, caused a rapid decline of the longevity of post-flood humanity.
Well, clearly, today we must make do with the Earth we inherited and the goodness it provides to sustain us. Foremost among foods mentioned in the Bible is bread, enshrined in the line lord’s prayer (“give us our daily bread”), in various parables and in the tale of the last supper. While bread in the Old Testament could mean sustenance in general, there are specific references in the Bible to the different ways of making flour. Today we can easily manage without this food, but then it was considered a “life-giver”. It should be remembered the quality of organic Biblical bread was almost certainly far more nutritious that supermarket bread today.
Also commonly mentioned are pulses and fish. We take pulses to mean dry beans, broad beans, garden peas, lentils, etc., but, like many words, its meaning over centuries has been modified. In Biblical times it included vegetables, nuts and seeds, all of which, the Bible stresses, are more beneficial than meat. Meanwhile the appropriate fish to eat, we are informed, must have fins and scales.
The seven species are the seven types of fruits and grains named in the torah (Deuteronomy 8:8) as the main produce of the land of Israel. In ancient times these foods were staples of the Israelite diet. The seven species are wheat, barley, grapes (usually consumed as wine), figs, pomegranates, olives (usually consumed in oil form) and dates.
On the question of meat, the Bible is disapproving unless it is lean meat, and preferably that of poultry or fowl (chicken, turkey, duck, etc.). It condemns the consumption of meat fat and organ meats.
The other foods to receive Biblical approval are honey and milk, which was predominantly goat milk.
The attributes of all these biblical foods are discussed in lifestyle recommendations below. Broadly speaking these recommendations of the Bible largely tally with the nutritional advice from government agencies and health experts today and correlates strongly with the...