Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thankfulness and the Teachings of Demons

When we talk about food there is a certain trap that is easy to fall into that will destroy whatever good we may produce. While it is good to strive for goodness and beauty, if we are unthankful in the process, we will defeat our efforts. Unthankfulness is a refusal to glorify God and enjoy Him. To do so is defiance in the face of God’s blessings, and is condemned in Scripture (Num. 21:5-6, 2 Tim. 3:2, etc.). Instead we should always be thankful to God (1 Thess. 5:18), as every good gift is from Him (James 1:17).

A good example of this is in church music. I and the others in my church do want to make sure that we are giving God our best when we sing praises to Him, and thus will get used to carefully examining the music styles we use. But say I’m singing at church and I start examining the hymn and spend my time critiquing the chord structure instead of worshiping God. My effort to praise God with my best has now backfired and I’m not worshiping God at all. While we ought to strive for the ideal, as we are dealing with God, at some point we have to work with what we have and be thankful for it.

There are many ways for us to be ungrateful for the food God has given us. We could over-indulge in self-serving pleasures, eating only the sugary and fatty parts of food as refined and processed pleasure foods, and then take pills and powders to “balance” our diet. We would then be ungrateful for the balance in the food God has made. Or we might think that food is only a means to survive, and the enjoyment of food because it gives physical pleasure is unbecoming to a Christian. Instead, we should praise God for giving us tasty food that is pleasing and beautiful to our God-given senses. Or we might over-emphasize nutrition and get caught up in strictly banning any food that might have anything detrimental to health. Unintentionally, we could become ungrateful for everything that is not perfectly healthy. Instead, even though we strive for health and nutrition, we should be grateful and content with what we receive. These several ways of being ungrateful are predicted and remedied in the Bible:
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”
−1 Timothy 4:1–5

The food we eat is made holy. It is set apart for righteousness by the Word of God and prayer. This is because if we are consistent as Christians, we will eat for God’s glory with thanksgiving to Him. When that is done, we will not be either health-obsessed or sensuously self-centered. We will thank God for making His food healthy and tasty in perfect balance and moderation. We will not pervert His blessings for our glory, but will stand in awe of His wisdom in His creation, and work with it humbly and joyfully.

Soli Deo gloria,

-Peter Bringe
You can see a book review of The Christian Philosophy of Food that was done recently over at Covered By His Hand.

-P. B.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Delighted to Prepare a Meal

I was inspired by reading Peter’s book to make a beautiful and nourishing meal for Sunday morning.

Saturday morning I washed some soybeans and put them in water to soak. That evening I made soymilk using a soymilk machine[1], which produces both soymilk and okara (fiber fraction) that is captured in a sieve. I put the soymilk in two glass canning jars, covered and cooled along with the okara on a covered plate. The rest of the soaked soybeans were combined with steel cut oats and buckwheat groats in a pan, washed, combined with pumpkin spice blend, extra cinnamon, licorice extract, and enough water to be about an inch higher than the grain in the pan. The burner was put on high until the mixture was boiling, then the heat was reduced to a medium level until the grain started to absorb a significant part of the water. The mixture was stirred and the heat was put on the lowest setting and the pan was covered. When all of the water was taken up by the grain, the oatmeal was cooled (outside) and placed in the refrigerator.

Sunday morning I rose early and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise, bringing to mind Psalm 65:5, 8b,
"By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation … You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy."

I started to pull together items for the breakfast. I got out a mixing bowl and put in two eggs that we gathered from our chickens – one brown from a Buff Orpington chicken and another with a bluish green shell from an Araucana chicken. The yolks were a rich yellowish-orange color which I combined with a little virgin olive oil. Then I added some of the oatmeal and okara from the refrigerator, some whole grain buttermilk pancake mix and buckwheat pancake mix. Water was added while stirring with a whisk until the consistency was right. I let the mix sit for about an hour. I asked my daughter, Gloria, to help me set the table and put a Baroque music CD in the stereo. A rose that I gave on Valentine’s Day to my wife, Lida, was drooping a bit, so I took some of the pedals and spread them on the table, recut the stem and wired below the bud so it would stand up straight. We lit some candles and placed vanilla soy yogurt, maple syrup, and a bowl of frozen wild blueberries on the table that could be put on the pancakes later. Bananas were sliced, and a block of dark chocolate was cut into pieces. Whole frozen cranberries were washed and allowed to thaw (we purchased many bags on sale after thanksgiving and stored in freezer). Bowls of walnuts, sunflower seeds and almonds and small date pieces were put near the stove. As family members were gathering, I started to cook. Some batter was added to a hot frying pan and various items were added depending on the member who was to receive it. Some like their pancake with the works, others with only the chocolate and walnuts, topped with banana slices. The chocolate chunks, cranberries, and dates were placed on the pancake and poked into it and covered with batter. Nuts and seeds were placed on top. Then the pancake was flipped and banana slices were arranged in a pattern on the surface. Soy yogurt, blueberries, and syrup were added at the table. I love the pancake with the works and put extra cranberries on top of mine because they are so beautiful. Furthermore, the cranberries came from a farm in Tomah, WI, the town where my mother grew up[2]. All were pleased with the meal and we were thankful to God for his rich blessings of food, music, flowers, sunrises, and family.

-Neal

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Interview on Generations Radio

My dad and I (Peter) were able to join Kevin Swanson on Generations Radio, discussing The Christian Philosophy of Food. Listen to it here:

http://generationswithvision.com/broadcast/christians-fatter-than-the-rest-of-the-population/

With God as our Defender,

-Peter Bringe

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blessing Of Spices

(This post is written by Neal Bringe, who is not only my father, but a Christian who loves God's Word, and a Ph.D. Food Scientist. He'll be writing some posts on this blog along with myself.) 

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of foods of India is spices. When I look at a cookbook of Indian food recipes, simply cooking okra involves additions of turmeric, coriander, Chile powder, curry leaves, ginger, onions, garlic, coconut powder, sesame seeds, salt, oil, fenugreek seeds, onion seeds, and mustard seeds (1). Perhaps people of that culture took the time to combine okra and spices because both grow well in India. About 2,300,000 tons of spices are grown in India, compared to about 200,000 tons in the U.S. Spice consuming populations like India seem to be blessed by lower rates of cancer. In 2000 India had about 7 times less cancer cases per capita than the US (2). Spices have been used for a long time to preserve foods (antibacterial activity) and provide a variety of tasty and attractive meals. They are also used in India as medicine. In recent times scientists are learning that spices have properties that protect our bodies from compounds that cause cell damage, inflammation and disease. God designed every spice with beautifully designed and unique chemicals in addition to some that are in common. The chemicals of different spices and foods work together at low levels to provide healthful outcomes just as every person in the church is unique, and as one body can give much glory to God.

A chemical in an Indian spice called turmeric that has received attention is called curcumin (which gives curries their distinctive yellow color). Not only are anti-cancer properties of curcumin an active area of research (3, 4), but also multiple other medical uses (5, 6) such as its potential to inhibit plaque formation and oxidative damage in the brain that is responsible for the decline of mental function in Alzheimer’s disease (7). An important discovery recently was that curcumin can be absorbed into the blood stream about 60 times better if it is combined with oil (especially phospholipid fraction) (8). This is how turmeric (containing curcumin) is traditionally used in Indian cooking. I would not be surprised that that the other components of the recipe above, in addition to oil, also contribute in a synergistic way with turmeric to provide taste and health benefits. It is interesting to learn that the long living and healthy people of the island of Okinawa, Japan commonly used turmeric for curries, soup, fish and medicine (9). It is reasoned that turmeric was brought from India to the island through the spice trade.

Praise God for providing spices to help make our food safe, attractive, tasty and healthful.

-Neal

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1. Husain, S. 1995. Vegetarian Indian, JR Press, North Dighton, MA 02764)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Now Published!

The book has arrived! You can now order your copy of The Christian Philosophy of Food here.




Monday, February 6, 2012

History and Food

Here is an article I wrote for True Foods Solutions concerning the connection between history and food. In my book I write about this connection, as well as other connections between food and our lives.

http://truefoodsolutions.com/blog/2012/01/history-and-food/

"This multi-generational culture teaches some humility and stability in our progress and growth, and calls to remembrance the fact that we are part of a community that includes past generations. It helps us remember where we came from and where we are going. It keeps us humble in times of plenty and joyful in times of want."
With God as Our Defender,
-Peter Bringe

P.S. As a note on True Foods Solutions, I do write articles for them, and do like some of what they are doing, but I do not endorse some of what they write and link to.