Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Christian Philosophy of Food

Today, I am posting an interview with Peter Bringe, author of The Christian Philosophy of Food. You can check out his website here.

In his book, he discusses the WHY behind our goals for proper eating and nutrition. For a Christian, there are many more reasons than one might expect, and Peter does a great jog digging into some of them. 

Peter describes his book in a one-liner: "Biblical principles are foundational for glorifying God in all interactions with food."

Peter Bringe Interview 

Functional Foodish (FF): Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, etc... 

Peter Bringe (PB): I am a Christian son and brother who loves history, theology/philosophy, and art (music, food, dance, poetry, etc.). I play various musical folk instruments, call traditional dances, participate in historical reenacting, and help with my local church, especially in its music. I have been saved from sin by Christ alone and seek to live in accord with that wonderful reality. My parents homeschooled me in the Lord from the day they brought me home from the hospital. I am currently attending Whitefield College and interning with Generations with Vision and the Rocky Mountain Shepherd Center. I have grown up in St. Charles County, Missouri, and I currently reside with my family outside of Elizabeth, Colorado (population 1,500, elevation 6,530). We are members of Reformation Church OPC. 

FF: Tell us about your business and work, and any ways that nutrition/your book tie in... 

PP: Currently, I work with Generations Radio as their Program Director. I also have some small musical endeavors, such as a fife and drum corps I helped start and performing folk music most Saturdays with my mom at a local coffee house. The various local community events have helped inform my understanding of culture (of which food is an important part). My time with Generations Radio and interning with the director (and my pastor), Kevin Swanson, has certainly taught me much about applying the Bible to day-to-day culture.

FF:  How did you first become interested in food and nutrition? 

PB: Important for my getting involved in the subject of food is the heritage of my father and grandpa. Both have a Ph.D., both have worked in the scientific aspect of the food industry and agriculture, and both have been fairly innovative in their fields. My father has a great love for beauty and God’s creation, and this has been reflected at our family table as I have grown up (both in what has been on the table and what has been discussed around it). Especially in the homeschool community, we have noticed much attention paid to the subject and it has been the subject of many conversations with our friends. We have noticed much confusion and chaos when it comes to this subject. I wrote this book both to carry on my heritage and to root our understanding of food as Christians in the basic principles of God’s word. Without understanding biblical principles, our more specific food discussions will be off to a bad start. To be honest, I do not see food and nutrition forming my main calling in life (I aspire to be a pastor), but I do see it as something that needs to be reformed by Christians, and I hope my contribution has helped. 

FF: How do you use what you've written about practically in daily life? (in what you eat, etc.)

PB: Well, for example, we generally do eat a plant-based diet, with Biblically “clean” meat in smaller proportions than are average, and “unclean” meat only when offered it by others. We do have times of celebration where we are not afraid of thanking God for good tasting food we enjoy, food we might not normally eat. My mom has done a great job in preparing beautiful food in our house. I do sometimes fast in accordance with what I have written, as a way of rest, self-control, and preparation for prayer, recognizing that I can’t rely on fasting for sanctification instead of Christ. We also have a good-sized garden, especially for the area in Colorado where we live, of which we enjoy the produce. 

Thank you, Peter, for contributing to the literally world with your book and being willing to be interviewed for this blog post.

Monday, July 8, 2013


The concept of balance is an important one -- for health, for food, for life. So while I place a high value on proper nutrition and healthy eating, balance is a key for success in a nourishing diet. By and large, if most of us were to try and eat totally and completely healthily 100 percent of the time and never splurge, we would fail miserably. (Or at least feel a little deprived sometimes)

I like to live by the 80/20 rule. That is, 80 percent of the time you're eating nutrient dense, healthy food but the other 20 percent of the time it's OK to "cheat" a little. Yes, I will eat an occasional bowl of store-bought ice cream. Yes, I will drink the occasional cup of non-organic Starbucks coffee with non-organic half-and-half in it. Yes, I will enjoy a few of those natural-but-still-have-some-poor-ingredients-in-them chips.

Now, I'm not asserting that you throw out your good sense during your "20" time. There are some things I just downright won't ever eat. (MSG, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, red food dye, processed soy, etc.) I also don't think that purchasing "junk food" and bringing it into the home is wise. Use this "20" rule when you're at a friend's house, eating out, traveling, etc. for bringing junk food into your home can quickly become a trap. But, to be able to ENJOY that treat during your "20" time is, in my opinion, important.

In theory, if you're consuming a healthy and nutrient dense diet, your cravings for these unhealthy foods will become much less frequent and intense. I know this is true for me. When you don't eat processed foods or drink soda for an extended period of time, you'll find they're hardly even appealing anymore. But come on now, don't all of us just need some ice cream every now and again?

This article is a great expression of what I'm talking about.

What do you think?

Nutrition for Sports and Activity

My post for Modern Alternative health this month is about sports nutrition. Check it out here.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

10 Ways to Eat Well and Frugally

Renee from Culinary Reformation has been kind enough to allow to contribute to her blog about once per month. Check out my first post here.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


One of the most glorious aspects of summer is the abundance of fresh produce, and then preserving some of it for enjoyment in later seasons. One of the yummy and simple ways to preserve fruit is by making jam, and today I made fourteen pints of strawberry jam.

Jam is difficult to find in grocery stores without high fructose corn syrup, food dyes, large amounts of sugar, and artificial flavorings. Organic jams with quality ingredients can cost a vast amount, and in general homemade jam just tastes so good!

I like to use Pomona's Pectin brand as it works really well for low-sugar jam recipes and doesn't have any preservatives in it. Though you can use honey, I used evaporated cane juice crystals just because I had more of them. I basically followed this recipe.

My family likes to put jam on toast or pancakes, but it is also yummy in plain unsweetened yogurt. What do you use jam for?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Why Lowfat Diets Might Not Be As Healthy As You Think

Practically every grocery store you walk into advertises things to the "health conscious", and at the peak of their advertising campaign is pushing the LOWFAT label. Lowfat have less calories, they say. Lowfat prevents heart disease, they say. But is lowfat really healthier? 

Fat in food is vital for bodily function for cell repair and growth, brain and organ development and protection, moisture for skin, hair and nails, and regulating fat soluble vitamins.  Of course, too much of anything is harmful, but as is too little. 

One major problem with lowfat foods, is that the fat is replaced with sugars, carbohydrates, and fillers. You might put less calories from fat into your body by consuming low-fat foods, but you end up skyrocketing your bloodsugar because carbohydrates were added to the food to replace the fat. Fat can act as a bloodsugar regulator by causing starches to take longer to absorb. Bread for example, takes longer to be used by the body when topped with butter or olive oil and causes less of a sugar spike than if the bread was just eaten on its own. 

Fat in food also tells your body that it is satisfied and full. And thus, taking most or all of the natural fat out of a food can lead to overeating. The hormone the body secretes upon fat consumption, cholecystokinin, will curb hunger and cause the brain to think you are full. This way, you are less likely to overcompensate at other meals.

Additionally, lowfat milk can also actually contribute to osteoporosis. Everyone knows you drink milk for the calcium which strengthens bones, right? Upon consumption, the body must use bone mass to compensate for the high acidity of the food. This pulls minerals out of the bones to help the body re-establish its pH levels, which can cause decreases in bone mass. Of course, small quantities will not have this effect, but if you rely on lowfat dairy products as your sole source of calcium for osteoporosis prevention, you might need to reconsider. Try eating spinach, collard greens, salmon, sesame/chia/sunflower seeds, quinoa, brocolli, or white beans for alternative calcium sources. 

Politically, encouraging lowfat dairy product consumption is profitable for dairy companies, as it is cheaper to skim the fat off the milk, selling the milk without the fat/cream and using the cream for other dairy products to sell.

Your body also does not know how to properly absorb the fat in "reduced fat" foods. When fat cells are altered, the body processes them differently and thus you do not always reap the health benefits from the fat.

Another benefit and important function of fat in food is for the assimilation of fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and therefore require fat to be absorbed (and stored) properly, as opposed to the water soluble vitamins which the body absorbs into the intestines and then are dissolved into the bloodstream. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in fatty tissues and the liver for current and future use. If fat-soluble vitamins are consumed without food that contains fat, the vitamins aren't assimilated and used by the body, and are rendered useless. Thus, fat in the diet is very important for the absorption of proper vitamins and nutrients.
In conclusion, avoiding low-fat products is important to avoid added sugars, fillers, artificial flavorings, and metabolism and hormone altering chemicals. God knew what He was doing when He put fat in food! Of course, a balanced diet is always important so avoid packaged foods and sugar as much as possible, and fill your plate with fresh vegetables.