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.Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
30 thoughts on “Jordan Rubin and the Maker’s Diet”
Thanks for this. I read in Donna Schwenks book ‘Cultured foods for health’ that he said he drank 8 glasses of kefir a day in getting well. Did he share this in his talk. I feel that is vital information he should have disclosed in his book ‘the makers diet’ if that were the case.
Wow! This talk was a really long time ago, but yes, how surprising if that’s really part of his healing and he didn’t include it in his book. I can’t say if he talked about that or not but if so, it didn’t stick w/ me because we never incorporated it.
Sorry about that, Katie
I heard Jordan on life today once and now I can’t find my notes or how to find them.
Jordan gave a list of 10 foods to avoid and 10 to have more of.
part of his talk I believe was that if you took mussels and dumped them into a dirty lake before you knew it the lake would be clean. can you help me find that talk please. thanks
As a Christian I had always wondered why many Christians don’t follow a Kosher diet. It was confusing to me that the new testament didn’t say, “Oh forget the whole diet plan I laid out before” yet many Christians don’t even think it applies to us, including myself (until recently). I got the maker’s diet book after reading this post for the first time, and honestly, the kosher diet does make a lot of sense for our health. I never thought about how shrimp, crabs, etc are basically bottom feeders and are full of waste. Gross, I used to love them! Now just thinking of that makes my stomach turn. Thanks for the great info Katie!
I admit, I don’t eat Kosher, mostly because I’m Catholic and our faith doesn’t mandate it, but I did also notice the common sense points Rubin makes that you also pointed out! We cut pork for the first few weeks of our diet, too. 🙂 Katie
Thank you so much for this post. I have a copy of The Maker’s Diet and felt the same way about his premises and his products. Thank you for expressing your honest evaluation so beautifully!
I enjoy reading posts but enjoy reading comments just as much. I do agree one shouldn’t make money selling God’s word. When we hear people doing that I know many of us would like to really know in total honesty their purpose behind their ministry or business.
I wish I would have been able to hear his talk, was it much different than his books Katie?
I have a few of his books. Our family does follow the levitical laws and I have for the most part of my life. God created us, he knows what is good for our bodies. I like being able to rely on His Word, it makes life much easier, much more freedom in decision making. I feel so grateful, that I have hardly ever been sick in my life, neither have our children and I do want to attribute it to at least part to our eating habits.
Thanks for sharing Katie and thank you all for your honest comments.
blessings ~ Carmen
I’ve only read the Maker’s Diet, and I read that after hearing him speak. His talk was exactly what I outlined above. The information is more or less contained in the book, but I imagine it has been updated with more recent research, and, ahem, supplements.
I wanted to trust him, really, and give the benefit of the doubt, and I still think that some of the supplements are gold standard and probably necessary IF you don’t like salmon, for example, or don’t get enough fermented foods (we don’t).
Love your testimony!
So we shouldn’t take calcium compliments? My kids are still picky eaters (despite my recent health-needs-based shift in eating). We’re all supposed to avoid/minimize dairy, but I don’t see them eating enough “dark leafy greens” to make up for it.
(how much do you have to eat to keep up your calcium, anyway?) I had been counting on supplements to make up the difference.
All I can do is parrot Rubin, because I haven’t done my own research on this. He says that conventional calcium supplements are made from rock (limestone, to be specific) and we can’t use it properly. In food, calcium is always paired with other nutrients that help it get where it needs to go (bones, for example) instead of the kidney (kidney stones). Interestingly enough, Garden of Life has a “real food” calcium supplement.
I have no idea how much calcium we need! Can your kids eat yogurt? To get green leafys in, try green smoothies with kale.
Good luck, and don’t fret – a balanced diet will generally get you what you need.
Can you get soups into your children? Or use arrowroot? Both are great sources of calcium.
What soups are you thinking of? I’ve heard beef broth (made from bones) can have calcium in it, but I don’t know how to compare it to needs vs. meeting needs.
Chicken stock made from real chicken bones has plenty of calcium. Would they eat chicken noodle soup? Or chicken vegetable? You could also cook them rice or other foods in the stock too, it doesn’t have to be soup.
I have Crohn’s so I got the book and believe me everything he says is true. I no longer consider myself diseased (I always refused to say or believe it) but after 5 yrs. of eating this way and now using WAPF, I am healthier than ever. Ann Marie you really know your food and one of my favorite sites !
I have never heard of this book. I too have Crohn’s. It sounds like it is heavy on raw veggies. Were you able to tolerate them? How does that work? I get a lot of pain and other symptoms if I eat too many raw veggies or any meat at all. I can tolerate some fruits and whole grains, also beans (unbelieveably!!) Nuts, all poultry, beef, pork, and raw veggies really cause me digestive trouble. Thanks.
I don’t think the veggies have to be raw, we just chose salads and such. I would probably recommend the GAPS diet for you – comparison between them coming late this week! 😉 Katie
I think the key from his book is to include the soil based probiotics (his business ‘garden of life’ make them) and to include ferments and cultured veggies in all meals. This to me is what I gather healed the most. Many people drastically heal from Kefir, I heard he drank 8 glasses a day. Donna Schwenk is a valuable resourse on this on her you tube and web page ‘cultured foods for life’.
I think he’s got a lot stuff right (love his perspective) but not all of it. Why does he say we need nutrients from FOOD then goes on to peddle all these supplements? I believe in supplements less and less.
We strive to have at least one raw and/or one probiotic food at EACH meal everyday. It’s making a difference for us, I know. I just feel SO GOOD all the time!! Even when I’m almost getting sick, I still somehow feel “good.” It’s just this amazing feeling, it’s not anything even specific, I just feel GOOD.
Thank you for this! I’ve heard a lot about this book, and appreciate your synopsis.
I found it ironic that #2 was, “Nutrients are vitamins or minerals, and we need to get them from food, raw food, not synthetic supplements.” and then #5 jumped right into HIS supplements! Those two points don’t seem quite congruent. Thanks for YOUR honesty on that one!
ps…I’m really looking forward to your comparison between GAPS, Maker’s, etc. Also wondering where eating “paleo” falls with those diets??
I guess “synthetic” supplements are those from chemical labs, and Garden of Life’s are all made with actual food, making them different. According to Rubin.
Good question on paleo – I did have a guest poster on the primal diet, which I think it pretty much the same as paleo: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/08/03/guest-post-from-primal-toad-what-is-the-primal-lifestyle/
Thanks, Kaite! I just read through the article and ALL of the comments — interesting discussion! 🙂
When you do tackle the comparison of GAPS and Makers, I’d be interested in seeing how primal (yes, same as Paleo) stacks up. We workout at a CrossFit gym, so we hear about it all the time … just would love a perspective on this side of the faith, if you know what I mean! 😉
I have been wanting to read this book for sometime, and I know it’s probably got some useful information in it, so it’s on my list. But, like Wendy, I am bothered by his using The Bible to sell products. I don’t think anyone should use God’s word to make a profit. With that said, I still believe his experience and wisdom could help many, many people in need.
Raine (& Wendy),
I kept struggling with that as I listened to him slip into sounding like an infomercial, too. It’s tricky, though, because if we believe that he really was healed by this diet and wants to share it with others, and sometimes there just weren’t commercially available products to help with a certain area, then making it happen (and selling it) is the only way to share the diet that saved his life. Then again…it was overboard. Finding the balance between commerce and information is a sticky situation!
Thank you both for your honesty – I’m hoping to share more from him and his company in the coming month(s)…
Thanks for the great review of this book. As a health conscious eater myself, into raw, into maintaining a healthy weight, and into faith, this sounds like a great read for me.
I have to appreciate what he begins and ends with “Faith”. If this is a true story of how he turned his life around, with faith and learning from the bible, then he should tell it and it may be the answers to many peoples prayers.
Faith is basically putting your confidence in God. In earthly matters, like dieting, by trusting the words and advice He gives you. He knows our bodies, He created them, and He knows what they need and how to heal them.
Great post and glad you were able to attend the event!
Hi, Katie. =)
I really appreciate this overview. I especially appreciate your honesty under #5…this honesty is one of the many reasons your blog is in my top 4 must-reads…I might not read daily, and I might not comment often, but I learn so much…thanks for sharing your experiences!
I forgot to add, that I would second Anne and Wendy’s comments above!!
I agree that the objectivity of this blog is one of the reasons it’s in my top ten food blogs. I might not agree with everything written here, but my scientific/literal mind loves the objectivity and healthy skepticism here.
And I’m really looking forward to a comparison of these different diets.
I have a copy of one of his other books (Perfect Weight). Not sure I agree with him 100% (the only guy I really trust is Jonny Bowden). It bothers me somewhat that he’s trying to use the Bible to hawk weight loss programs, but whatever. I wish I could have gone to his event.
I always thought I ate relatively healthy until a friend gave me his book (Makers Diet). What an eye-opener! I don’t follow or even agree with everything in his book or his diet, but it certainly helped me clean out the unhealthy things and I started to make a lot more from scratch and we now eat more whole foods. I have met with some resistance in my family unfortunately, so I’ve had to make some compromises along the way and take baby steps (relationships are even more important than the food you eat!). It’s a journey and a process, and I’m glad his book got me started on it!
I thought it was kind of funny that I’d never read any of his books before I heard him speak! 😉 Katie