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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Perfect Provision

As we dig into plant-based diets in this issue, I'm humbled and elated to share my faith, which offers both a basis and validation of the effectiveness of plant-based diets. Our relationship with food has continually evolved from caveman days and ancient times to the preindustrial and modern eras. But it all started back in those seven days of creation, when God blessed us with all we need—even the air we breathe. It never ceases to amaze me how our world and everything in it, including our own bodies, were engineered to be fine-tuned, totally integrated, interdependent mechanisms. Just like we need hands and feet and eyes and ears to survive and thrive (we can live without them, but not easily), we need the plant-based sustenance that God created to fuel our bodies and the world.

Indeed, on the first day, God created light; on the second day, it was the sky and the atmosphere; on the third day, dry land, seas, plants and trees; on the fourth day, the sun, moon and stars; on the fifth day, birds and sea creatures; and then on the sixth day, humans and other land animals. Note that God placed us in the world only after He had placed all that we needed to survive and thrive there. And finally, on the seventh day, He rested, having created a system in which everything was designed to work together in harmony. As we've seen with our bodies, and with our world, when one or more components get out of kilter, we don't thrive. So we'd be wise to pay attention to his plan.

The origins of plant-based eating can be definitively traced to ancient cultures around the world. In Africa, beans and grains were staples of the diet since at least 5,000 BC; in China, tofu has been a mainstay since 2,500 BC; and in India, many ancient religious traditions advocate a vegetarian lifestyle. Over time, these dietary habits spread across Europe and Asia as trade and exploration connected disparate civilizations. I remember being intrigued by an art exhibit I saw in South Florida called Rice and Beans. After much head scratching, trying to determine the meaning of the exhibit and its name, I was told that it was a nod to a universal phenomenon: almost every culture has some form of beans and rice as a dietary staple. I still can't think of a culture that doesn't.

Plant-based diets, more often referred to as vegan or vegetarian, are becoming increasingly popular, with health and science leading the way back to them. Although the concept certainly isn't new, there's always new research supporting the idea that the ancients were on to something. Plant-based diets provide incredible health benefits because they are packed with the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that God engineered our bodies to need to stay healthy and strong. But the benefits don't stop there. Plant-based diets also have an incredible environmental impact, reducing the strain on natural resources like water and soil. Plus, beyond providing nutrition for our bodies and preserving the environment, plant-based diets are a way of honoring God-His gifts and His glory.

One quick note, speaking of the environment: a must-read is our interview with Trammel S. Crow, founder of Earthx, now an international institutional anchor for environmental stewardship. It's exciting to look back on how it all started as Earth Day Dallas back in 2011, in the Arts District. I hope you'll enjoy the interview and the rest of this month's issue, which as usual, is chock-full of relevant and timely information to help you along your journey to living a healthier life on a healthy planet.

Blessings until next month,