I’ve been teasing you for a few weeks about the opportunity I had to see Jordan Rubin, author of The Maker’s Diet and survivor of near-fatal Crohn’s Disease, speak in the Grand Rapids area.
Today I’m going to attempt to share my notes from the talk without making this post seem like my notebook vomited onto the computer screen. Strap on your seatbelt and try to follow along!
He began by telling his story, which is the backbone of The Maker’s Diet book and absolutely spellbinding. In short, he was diagnosed with a serious case of Crohn’s Disease in college, developed about a dozen other ailments and was literally on his deathbed and in a wheelchair at 105 pounds.
Seventy health specialists and $150,000 later, Rubin discovered someone who taught him to follow a health plan based on the Bible and change his attitude to one of positivity. Within a few months, he was healed.
He’s made it his life’s work to pass on the Bible living health plan he terms the Maker’s Diet. On his lifestyle being countercultural and not “normal,” he responds: “If normal is being sick, in debt, divorced, having naughty children, and having cancer (1/2 of men and 1/3 of women are projected to get cancer in their lifetimes), we don’t want normal!” (Jordan Rubin)
The Bible says if we follow God’s plan, we received health promises, if we don’t, we received the health curses promised to the Egyptians (which sound eerily like the “industrial” diseases of our day – heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, etc).
Health starts with belief. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” It was when Jordan began truly believing that God could and would make him well that things started to turn around.
6 Keys to Extraordinary Health
The rest of the talk described his 6 keys, but in the midst of the keys, there are some other numbered lists, so I’ll try to keep them straight for you. Much of this is in the Maker’s Diet, but it’s a nice breakdown from Jordan Rubin.
1. Extraordinary Health Starts with the Gut
- 90% of illnesses emanate in the gut; 80% of our immune and nervous system is there
- You only need to do 2 things to be healthy: GOOD IN and BAD OUT, i.e. proper nutrients and excretion
- 4 Steps to Digestive Health
a) Cleanse 4 times per year – 7 days with no junk food, more sunshine, deep breathing, more hugs, and eating only raw foods and juices b) Boost your probiotics– our systems harbor bacteria, of which 80% are supposed to be “good” bacteria (probiotics) and 20% the bad guys; many believe the average American has exactly the opposite ratio.How to get more probiotics: yogurt, kefir, traditional sauerkraut, lacto-fermented foods, real apple cider vinegar, kombucha, miso, natto. Some need a supplement. c) Preserve your enzyme bank account – enzymes are the “doers” in our bodies; they start and continue all reactions. “You are not what you eat. You are what you digest.” “That which you eat and can’t digest, can and will be held against you.” Enzymes are responsible for healthy digestion, and theory is that we have a finite number of enzymes that our body can create in its lifetime. No more enzymes, no more you, which means we need to conserve our own by not wasting them and by relying on enzymes from outside sources:
(1) Eat only when hungry
(2) Chew your Food (50-100x/mouthful) – no gum, it wastes your enzymes
(3) Eat more raw foods – they contain enzymes to digest themselves
d) Go green on the inside – literally consume more greens by eating more salad and juicing (One reason we added a salad regularly at lunch. I’m also hoping green smoothies count for something) The Maker’s Diet is big on vegetables.
2. Eat Raw Nutrients
Nutrients are vitamins or minerals, and we need to get them from food, raw food, not synthetic supplements.
- One principle Jordan Rubin talked about is called “nutrient intelligence,” which means that nutrients need to know where to go and how to be used in the body. The theory is that in nature, the nutrients are often surrounded by other components that help deliver them to the right places. (Calcium from rock, on the other hand, is often deposited wrongly in the form of kidney stones, arterial plaque, etc.)
- We don’t know what we don’t know. What haven’t we discovered yet that we need? At first, humans only knew about one B vitamin, now there are a bunch. If we rely on supplements instead of real food, we’re bound to be missing something, or a symbiosis of something, that we don’t even understand yet.
- For example: “ascorbic acid” is touted as simply “vitamin C.” (I’ve always told people that when reading ingredient lists.) Oops. It’s an isolated chemical, and the doctor who discovered how to synthesize it said, “The farther his patients got from real food, the less results they had.”
3. Dive into the Ocean of Wellness
Rubin is kind of big on catchy phrases, like any master teacher trying to help students remember new facts. This one means that we need to get nutrients from the sea, specifically:
- 2000g omega-3 fatty acids every day (highest concentration in fish, salmon especially)
- two powerful antioxidants found in the sea called astraxanthan (makes salmon red, best known as an “internal sunscreen”) and fucoxanthan (in brown seaweed, helps burn fat)
4. Take a 360-Degree Approach to Your Diet
It’s not just about what we eat. These are the four reasons people are overweight:
2) more muscle = more fat burned, more fat = more fat gained
3) blood sugar regulation
4) stress – need a balance of the hormones cortisol (makes sure we do things fast under stress, also makes you crave carbs for quick energy) and DHEA (the “youthful hormone” that makes you feel well and balanced). Not surprisingly, Americans tend to overdo our cortisol.
5. Balance Your Immune System
Here, Rubin started getting really into his Garden of Life product line – well, he was already pitching a lot of products, one for each point in the talk, but on this topic, he spoke about nothing else. I started to get weary of the mixture of commerce with information….but he had started out so strong! I’m sure there are ways of balancing one’s immune system without taking 50 million supplements, and the Monday Mission in a few weeks will help us find them!
6. Build Strong Bones
- “What you don’t know CAN hurt you.” For example, before he discovered the Maker’s Diet, Jordan Rubin lost 1 1/2 inches of height with his illness because his bones were so starved for nutrients. Osteoporosis is expected to be a true health crisis by 2020: half of all adults over 50 are predicted to have a bone fracture due to osteoporosis. Females over 40 lost 1% of bone/year, up to 5-10% during menopause.
- Do not take artificial calcium supplements – they’re made from rocks, and humans can’t assimilate them.
- Unhealthy bones are caused by: soda with phosphoric acid, less sunlight, fewer fat soluble vitamins, and less exercise than we ought to be getting.
He ended where he began, with faith.
What’s the biggest secret in the world of health, and the most powerful word in the English language, according to Jordan Rubin?
“Faith is the currency by which you purchase the miracle God is holding in His hand for you.”
I learned a lot from Jordan Rubin’s talk, to be sure, and we ended up starting on our no grains challenge and eating a raw lunch the very next day.
Menu planning has been a little different around here, and as I was playing with the Plan to Eat program, which is an online comprehensive meal planning organizational system, I was struck by a thought: it’s perfect for those with special diets like the Maker’s Diet. I’ll break down the differences between the Maker’s Diet, SCD, and GAPS in a few weeks, but they all have “sample meal plans” to follow.
It would be so easy to input those meal plans into Plan to Eat, and the program would generate your shopping list (which you pare down by telling it what’s already in your pantry). It even reminds you how often you’ve served a certain dish to help avoid monotony, which is such a cool feature. Plan to Eat has a 30-Day trial membership, which I would highly recommend if you (a) follow a special diet, (b) use a lot of online recipes anyway, or (c) need some motivation and organization to stick to a meal plan.
I’m happily entered in Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist.