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May 13, 2012 in Chapters

Plant Foods

The first thing that God gave to mankind in Genesis for food was the “herb bearing seed.”

Genesis 1:29a:
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth…

God also specified the food he gave as “herb of the field” (Genesis 3:18) and “the green herb” (Genesis 9:3).  An herb is defined as a “seed-bearing annual, biennial or perennial that does not develop persistent woody tissue but dies down at the end of a growing season” or “a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory or aromatic qualities.”  The word “bearing” means to sow or scatter.

The plants that God gave for food drop or scatter their seed in order to start another generation after their own kind, or genus.  The term vegetable can include the edible parts of these plants such as the leaves (e.g. spinach), the roots (e.g., carrot), tubers (e.g., potato), stems (e.g., celery), flower cluster (e.g. nasturtium), seeds (e.g. legumes) and other bits of plants that you might eat.  Although seaweeds such as kelp, nori, wakame, arame, hijiki, kombu and dulse are often called “sea vegetables” they are not in the plant kingdom but are algae which are not in the category of “herb bearing seed” or “herb of the field.”  Likewise, mushrooms do not reproduce by seed but by spores.  They also don’t photosynthesize like a “green herb” and are a fungi rather than a vegetable.  Some foods that we culturally call vegetables are actually fruits.  The fruits of herbs include things like tomato, cucumbers, peppers, melons, squashes and strawberries.  And then there are also the grains which are the small dried fruits or seeds of the cereal grasses.  In areas of seasonal climate fluctuations, the leafy greens of these plants are available in abundance through much of the year until the winter cold comes, and then some of the fruits, roots, tubers and grains which were harvested in the fall become sustenance until the next season.

Scientific research has revealed that leafy greens and green herbs are the most nutritionally dense foods known to man and the most healthful nutritional base for any diet.  Many health problems can be greatly improved or eliminated simply by adding more greens to one’s diet.  In Genesis 9:3, God stated that He had given them the “green herb” for food.  The herbs that have been discovered to have the most healing properties in herbal medicine are the same herbs that are most commonly used in cooking.   In fact, according to Exodus 12:8 and Number 9:11 “bitter herbs” were to be eaten with the Passover lamb during the Israelite's annual feast.  Experts believe that “bitter herbs” could have included mint, endive, chicory, dandelion, sorrel, parsley and or watercress.  These herbs are excellent digestive aids and blood purifiers.  Chlorophyll found in green vegetables prevents the spread of fungal infections and promotes good bacteria growth.  Greens are inexpensive, easy to grow or sprout and can be added to a variety of meals in salads, smoothies, soups and sauces.  Fresh and organic (grown without the use of pesticides) is best.  The nutrient content is typically 40% lower when it gets to the supermarket and diminishes everyday that produce sits on the shelves of the grocery.  Frozen vegetables can be a good less expensive option because they are frozen quickly after harvesting which seals in maximum nutrition.  Taking green whole food supplements (a powdered mixture of a variety of leafy green vegetables and grasses) can also be beneficial because of the nutritional depletion of soils due to modern agricultural methods.

When eaten raw, vegetables have the highest nutrient and enzyme content which help clean and detoxify your body.  Juicing raw vegetables is an excellent way to get an abundance of easily absorbed alkalizing minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and enzymes to rejuvenate the body.  If not juiced, people with weak digestion may find that they tolerate cooked vegetables better than raw because the vegetable cellulose is broken down by heat.  Also, some vegetables of the cruciferous family (i.e. kale, broccoli, cabbage) have thyroid suppressing substances (goitrogens that block the absorption of iodine) that are deactivated by cooking.  Likewise, many root vegetables and legumes are more digestible and taste milder when cooked.  Steaming vegetables is the best method of cooking to retain nutrients as only 10% of the nutrients are lost.  66% are lost with boiling unless the cook water is consumed also as part of a soup.  If possible, it is best to avoid cooking in the microwave since 97% of the nutrients are destroyed.  In addition, microwaving uses radiation which changes the structure of the molecules in the food that when eaten result in abnormal blood profiles, similar to those that occur in the early stages of cancer.  The process of microwaving and/or irradiating food creates a new set of chemicals, known as unique radiolytic products (URPs) which include benzene, formaldehyde and a host of known mutagens and carcinogens.  Vegetable soups in which the cook water is retained are a good way to get a wide variety of easily digested vegetables in one meal.  An even more nutritious way to consume vegetables without cooking them is to ferment them (e.g. home-made unpasteurized sauerkraut or pickles).  This is the technique used for centuries to preserve food before refrigeration became available.  The process actually increases the nutrients and enzymes as well as providing friendly probiotic bacteria (100 times more than even high potency probiotic pills) which assists digestion.  Some people find that simply adding a large salad and/or fermented vegetables to their daily menu makes them feel much better.

This is just an excerpt from "Food in the Bible."  For the full chapter, you may download the book here.