"All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life..."
When you throw a rock onto water, does it sink immediately? I tossed a big boulder into a pond the other day as my boys and I attempted to see who could create the biggest splashes. With all the authority in the world I can say that if you throw a rock onto water it will sink... Or will it? This morning I watched a father teaching his sons how to skip rocks. It was delightful! With his powerful arm and low trajectory he was able to skip rocks all the way across the lake onto dry land-deftly defying my authoritative claim that all rocks sink!
The thought occurred to me that too many of us go about as blind guides in the world of health and of how foolish we are as we do so. If a rock sinks then we want to be the first to proclaim, "The rock sunk and therefore all rocks sink..." For example, if soybean is found to promote cancer, heart disease, or hormonal imbalances we want to authoritatively proclaim, "All soy products should be eliminated from diet." Too often we don't even consider asking why some civilizations have enjoyed a 5000 year love affair with soybean derived products, without having their metaphoric rocks sink. Nor do we ask if a few rocks sink among such civilizations, what the cause is that created the effect? We prefer to paint with broad strokes to make our authoritative claims when a finer and much more delicate touch might create a masterpiece or make contributions that are fit for the ages...
By not asking such questions, when about 20% of the U.S. population struggles with intolerances related to grain, some want to shout, "Grain is Bad." A friend of mine and I began to ask why grain was so problematic for so many people today. We could not understand why the Lord would proclaim that all grains are ordained for the use of man, yet so many struggle with them. Many have asked themselves similar questions. Possible answers that have been suggested by some vary from ideas such as wheat today is different than the wheat the Lord spoke of; or, perhaps we are supposed to sprout wheat and just eat the wheat grass, and so forth.
In other cultures around the world common fermentation methods are used to prepare legumes and grains to be consumed as live or cooked food. Science has discovered that many of the toxic effects associated with grains which lead to grain intolerances are neutralized through fermentation and the grain is then ideal for man. The old-world bread-making techniques include a natural fermentation process to leaven and prepare the dough of the bread prior to baking it. When these natural processes are employed, suddenly the grain, as a rock skipping across the water, achieves an entirely different outcome with man--one that we would expect from the "Staff of Life."
Some cultures create non-cooked porridges made from grains that pass through fermentation prior to the eating of the grains. In the Essene Gospels of Peace Christ teaches a way of preparing bread without cooking it that passes wheat through stages of soaking, sprouting, mashing, shaping, fermentation, and drying. Today bread made using this process is called Essene bread. In Asia, soybeans and other legumes go through a fermentation preparation process that takes months to complete. At the end of the process, the soybean is broken down and predigested in such a manner to become healthful to man. By comparison, most U.S. prepared soy products never go through these healthful processes and have become very problematic products to many people.
While the thought of using friendly bacteria to prepare food for man may initially seem strange it should not when we consider their usage for this very thing throughout the world. These same friendly bacteria are found within the digestive tracts of all ruminants and of other animals, and even within healthy human digestive tracts. They are an integral part of digestion. Only as eating habits destroy the digestive environment required for friendly bacteria to survive and thrive do we lack the benefit of their influence in our digestion. Some foods cannot digest completely without them and the improperly digested portions of the food lead to allergies and sometimes life-threatening conditions.
After farmers chop their field corn, they take the chopped fresh corn stalks and cobs and dump them into large cement pits to make a veritable mountain of chopped corn. These same friendly bacteria found in the gut of animals and men enter the piles of chopped corn and begin to eat it, just as they do plants that fall to the soil that are then decomposed by the bacteria, or just as they convert the roughage in the stomach of ruminants into delectable nutrients. As these same friendly bacteria enter the pile of chopped corn they break the stalks and cobs down and the green and yellow corn stalks and cobs are converted to a new food that is called silage, which is a wonderful food for cattle.
Whether for cows, for the soil, for bread making, for the preparation of the soybean and other legumes to be used by man, or for the preparation of wheat, these friendly bacteria have been here since the earth was created and are a very important part of the preparation of food. If we leave them out of the process, some food cannot be fully digested by our digestive enzymes alone, leading to certain toxicities that accumulate over time. Over time our bodies become intolerant to the very foods that were ordained for our healthful use.
Before the advent of the modern food industry, the whole world employed food preparation traditions which prepared grains and legumes in ways that were healthful to man. With the advent of the modern food industry, food preparation processes became streamlined, economized, and commercialized. God neither lied nor misled man about grains, man simply corrupted the natural uses of grain. In many of our present use forms, grain is truly bad for us.
Grains are now a hotly contended food among proclaimed health gurus. With seeming authority some denounce grains and others speak highly of grains. Both are right, from their perspectives..., after all rocks do sink when you toss them onto water... Given that God cannot lie and has said that grains are the staff of life for man and beast, let us then seek to reconcile this truth and to do so rightly. Let us begin by asking the right questions:
What is a staff? What is its purpose? What is its most healthful relationship to herbs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and animal-based foods? How is grain best prepared for our healthful use? If we prepare it correctly, how much of it should be prudently included in our diets? How much is too much and why? How is it commonly used today that causes problems? What are the most common problems associated with grain usage among animals and man and should they be avoided? What are the common denominators that exist in relationship to problems associated with grains? Can we overcome them and can grain play a faithful and important role in diet for a lifetime?
When God's teachings do not reconcile with current events, it is up to us to ask why, to then seek solutions, and to continue knocking until God's full truth of a matter is revealed to us. By so doing we set the stage to receive the blessings associated with his promises. In our next blog we will begin to pull this argument apart and see what can be reconstructed to be useful to me and you.
All My Best!
James Daniel Simmons