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Charismatic Puritan

Right doctrine leads to right thinking, and right thinking leads to right living.

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Location: Gaithersburg, MD, United States

Jealous for the truth, beauty and majesty of our glorious risen Savior.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Eating Your Way to Sanctification

I’ve been reading about this thing called Manna Planet that my brother asked me to look into. It is basically a nutritional supplement program that claims to be able to fix your health, relationship, financial and spiritual problems. Is your Spidey-sense tingling? I certainly hope so. As, you might be imagining, I can’t honestly endorse this. Actually I have to reject it. Read their website and follow some of their links if you have nothing to do. If you have something to do, let me 'splain…No there is too much, let me sum up.

First off, there are all the elements of a pyramid scheme type of operation, like Amway or various other companies. (Get 10 people to by from you and you will be getting the product for free and then they get people to buy from them….) all under the guise of “blessing.” (They use lots of "quotation marks" on their site, as if they are quoting "somebody important.") My family got into this a long time ago with water filters. If it doesn't become your life's work, you loose money, which means someone else makes money. Your money. Yeah, bless me, baby.

There is also a lot of vague “Christianese.” No, that’s not true, it’s not at all Christian, it’s vague spiritualism. There is no mention of Christ, sin, salvation, etc., but the problems of sin, i.e. sickness, death, etc., are all described as resulting from nutritional deficiencies. Yeah, OK, sure. This is what I call Magical Humanism. As long as you get rid of all the “toxins” of this evil modern world, eliminate all the “synthetic” byproducts we pump into your body, and get back in touch with Mother Nature, you will be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise. Sure. Cool. It’s a form of paganism. You become your own god and need to be worshipped at the altar of Health. All right, they didn't say "Mother Nature" but it is the same premise you can find on dozens of other websites or in any naturopathic health food store. Hey, my wife and I frequent health food stores and we're both pretty "Green" when it comes to a lot of things we put in and on our bodies, but It's not my religion any more. I'm a Christian. Eventually my body will be absolutely perfect, forever.

One of the "ministries" that endorses Manna Planet is a pseudopsychiatric health and wealth, “healing ministry” that attributes your problems to your inner woundedness. Yes, you see, the problem is that you have been wounded. "I'm wounded?" you ask. Yes, you are wounded. By whom they don't say, but I don't think that is as important as the fact that if you are wounded, then you are not to blame for your problems. Even better, somebody else wounded you, so you get to blame them, or perhaps more generally just Them, but certainly not you.

My question, if we are going to talk about wounds is, what about Jesus Christ on the cross? What about His wounds? Who do we get to blame for that? I’ve got to stop soon. I’m trying to be angry and not sin, but I tend to have a limited duration for that.

OK, medically. I found some limited research on “glycobiology,” which is the underlying biochemical substrate that this nutrition supplement is supposed to be composed of, and its real applications to human beings. One study I read showed a benefit of glyconutrients on immune cells isolated from patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) when compared to normal hosts. The research showed benefit to a particular subgroup of CFS patients who were deficient in certain glycoprotein cell markers. However, CFS is an extremely heterogeneous group. Only 13% of CFS patients in the study had the cell marker deficiency. Also, the study only looked at the cells in culture in the lab and recognized that we have no idea if there would be any actual effect on the humans or if ingestion creates the same changes as a culture bath. Most of the other glycobiology stuff I’m looking at is waaayyyy technical biochemistry and is either very narrowly applied to a specific disease pathophysiology or not even close to being extrapolated into a real functional application in humans. In fact, a lot of it is still in animal or bacteria models. It’s expensive to test on humans.

I emailed the company that makes the stuff and asked for their research so that I can recommend this product to my patients. We’ll see what they fork up.

I admit a serious bias against a lot of these guys because they always paint me, that is, a regular western-trained allopathic physician, as some sort of modern Frankenstein who is distorting the naturopathic holistic nirvana that we had before the industrial age. Except we never had that nirvana, well, OK, we did, it was called Eden and the thing that screwed it up wasn’t synthetic toxins. You know the story, so I’ll quiet the tirade.

My advice: Pray, read the Bible (I recommend the ESV), go to church, cultivate loving relationships based on the Gospel that are filled with grace and accountability. Eat healthy foods, organic and free range foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, stay away from lots of fast food and junk food and soft drinks, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, drink clean, filtered water and wear magnets and crystals. OK, skip the magnets, but true magic always involves crystals.

Oh, and get your shots. People talk smack about immunizations and all these bogus associations with immunizations and autism, but I’ve got one word for all of them…smallpox. Make that two words…smallpox and plague…no, wait, three words…smallpox, plague and polio. Name anybody you know in a developed country who has had one of those diseases from normal social contacts in the last decade and I’ll give you cash money. No kidding.