The Hallelujah Diet: Experience the Optimal Health You Were Meant to Have by George Malkmus with Peter & Stowe Shockey (2006).

If it appears that the Genesis-based diets are endless, fear not. The Hallelujah Diet is the last on my shelf that is explicitly based on the book of Genesis. George Malkmus, a pastor, followed what he termed “God’s original diet” (11) after being diagnosed with colon cancer. 30 years after he adopted the diet and survived colon cancer, Malkmus published The Hallelujah Diet to share it with the world. He also started Hallelujah Acres (http://www.hacres.com/), an organization set up to teach Christians how to live healthy lives through the diet, prior to publishing The Hallelujah Diet. The tagline for the diet is “Biblically Based. Scientifically Validated. Personally Evidenced.” and the book delivered on all three points. Biblical examples were discussed, scientists and physicians were consulted and the pages of The Hallelujah Diet teemed with testimonials.

In The Hallelujah Diet, Malkmus provided a diet plan based on one verse of Genesis. Malkmus offered the following translation of Genesis 1:29: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat [food]” (35). Malkmus used this verse as the basis for the Hallelujah Diet, a plant-based diet of living foods. Malkmus noted that according to the bible, from the time of creation until the flood, man was sustained on a “pure raw vegan diet” and lived to an average age of 912 (52). Malkmus identified that pure raw vegan diet as the ideal diet that God intended for humans. Malkmus mentioned the story of the prophet Daniel refusing to eat the King’s food and thriving on a vegetarian diet as an inspiration for his readers as they consider moving from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to the Hallelujah Diet.

As mentioned above, the Hallelujah Diet is a diet of living foods. Malkmus stressed the importance of eating living food but also noticed that people found less success with a raw-food only diet. The Hallelujah Diet is comprised of 85% raw-food and 15% cooked food. No animal products are permitted. Malkmus wrote, “The single most destructive thing you can put into your body is something of an animal origin: beef, poultry, seafood, milk, cheese, and eggs – anything that comes from something with a face” (114). Dieters are encouraged to ingest barley max (a product sold on the Hallelujah Acres website) and vegetable juice (a specific vegetable juice made of 2/3 carrot juice and 1/3 celery, cucumber or leafy green vegetable juice) throughout the day to supplement their diet. Malkmus also suggested that dieters drink distilled water, exercise often, sleep well, and maintain their mental health. Malkmus provided daily eating plans, lists of approved foods, access to worksheets via the Hallelujah Acres website and over forty pages of recipes to assist dieters. And, based on the hundreds of testimonials that appeared throughout the book and on the website, it seems that many have been healed by the Hallelujah Diet.

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Ezekiel's Bread

The What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book by Don Colbert, M.D.

Since I talked about What Would Jesus Eat last week and happen to own the companion cook book I thought I would foray briefly into food blog territory for this week’s post. The What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book began with a brief introduction in which Colbert listed ten steps to help his readers change from their “typical American way of eating to a Mediterranean way of eating” (ix). Many of the steps were similar to advice offered in What Would Jesus Eat. These included eliminating processed food, using olive oil in place of other oils and fats, avoiding fried foods, limiting meat intake and exercising regularly. Colbert altered his advice on wine in the cook book version and suggested that his readers enjoy a glass of wine per day (in What Would Jesus Eat he recommended wine substitutes). Colbert also added a prescription to “make dining and experience you enjoy with others” (x). Enticed by the two hundred pages of recipes that followed I decided to make Ezekiel’s Bread, the only recipe that also appeared in What Would Jesus Eat. And, in keeping with Colbert’s ideal of dining as an experience, I brought a loaf of Ezekiel’s Bread to share with my book club.

The recipe for this bread is based on a story from the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a prophet in the time of the Babylonian exile who responded to many of God’s requests in order to convey messages to the exiled Israelites. Colbert explained that in one such instance “God said to Ezekiel, ‘Also take for yourself wheat, barely, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt [rye]; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself’ (Ezekiel 4:9)” (85). Ezekiel was commanded to eat this bread every day for a year, and Colbert noted that it is a “complete-protein mixture” with its combination of wheat and beans.

Although the recipe for Ezekiel’s Bread appears in both What Would Jesus Eat and in The What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book, the recipes are different. When I saw the recipe in What Would Jesus Eat, I was interested but intimidated. The recipe in What Would Jesus Eat called for the use of a flour mill which I do not own and I am not quite an expert enough baker to get around this missing tool (the recipe can be found on pages 86-87). Luckily, the cook book version called for pre-ground barley, soy, millet and rye flour instead of the raw ingredients. I halved the recipe because the original makes 4 loaves of Ezekiel’s Bread which seemed unnecessary (and I only have two loaf pans) but the full recipe appears below in case you feel inspired to feed the multitudes. This is a dense and satisfying bread. I served this with butter and honey at book club and enjoyed a piece at home with raspberry jam. Both versions were excellent.

 Ezekiel’s Bread

From The What Would Jesus Eat Cook Book, Page 59.

Yield: 4 Loaves

4 envelopes dry yeast

1 tbsp honey

1 cup warm water

8 cups whole wheat flour

4 cups barley flour

2 cups soy flour

½ cup millet flour

¼ cup rye flour

1 cup mashed cooked lentils

4 to 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ to ¾ cup honey

4 cups water

1 tbsp Celtic Salt

  1. Stir the yeast and 1 tbsp honey into the 1 cup warm water and let stand for 10 min.
  2. Place the whole wheat flour, barley flour, soy flour, millet flour, and rye flour in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Combine the lentils, olive oil, the ½ to ¾ cup honey, and ½ cup of the water in a blender, process until smooth.
  4. Combine the lentil mixture and the remaining 3 ½ cups water in a large bowl; stir until well mixed.
  5. Stir in 2 cups of the flour mixture.
  6. Stir in the yeast mixture.
  7. Add the salt and the remaining flour mixture.
  8. Knead until smooth on a floured board.
  9. Place in an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk [about an hour].
  10.  Knead again.
  11. Divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a large loaf. Place in greased loaf pans.
  12. Let rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk [about an hour]
  13. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until bread tests done.Ezekiel's Bread with Raspberry Jam

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon (2002) 

It’s that time in January when resolve starts to wane and diets fade away. I understand the impulse. I intended to post another commentary on a faith-based diet this week but was led astray by a beautiful book of faith and food that might be described as an anti-diet. The Supper of the Lamb is a book dedicated to a deep love of food as an aspect of God’s creation. Robert Farrar Capon, an Episcopal priest, encouraged his readers to look carefully at the things of the world and love them for what they are (19). Capon provided thoughtful reflections, persuasive arguments and enticing descriptions throughout the book to pass along his beloved recipe for “Lamb for Eight Persons Four Times” and persuade his readers that it is no mere recipe; it is a way of life (22).

Capon calls his cuisine “ferial” or ordinary but his description of this cuisine is extraordinary. Capon’s approach to lamb, and all food preparation, might be considered mindful cooking. With one chapter dedicated to appreciation for the onion and another on consumption of minerals, vegetables and animals in poetic form this book remained grounded in the things of life. At each step of his recipe, Capon described the proper tools, ingredients and attitude. Capon stressed throughout that ingredients deserve respect as fellow things or beings created by God. He described every encounter between cook and ingredients “a session, a meeting, a society of things” (11). So, at each step of the recipe, Capon explained and considered the necessary ingredients, recommended the proper tools and provided the appropriate method for a successful session.

Capon’s respect for the food of God’s creation engendered a hearty dismissal of dieting. He urged his readers to lessen their fear of “little invisible spooks called calories” (26) and encouraged them to consider taste before nutrition. He called for the addition of butter to almost everything and supplied decadent recipes for sauces, pastries and pastas. Despite his distaste for diets of any sort, Capon ended up recommending a procedure that serves calorie counters well. He prescribed a plateful of lettuce before a large meal with bread for the heartier appetites to fill stomach space before the indulgent food is served. Capon suggested fasting as the appropriate method for losing weight and the moderation of breakfasts and lunches in order to enjoy special suppers. He encouraged a breakfast of coffee, fruit juice and a slice of (homemade) bread (146) and a lunch of “a crust, a leaf, and a glass of wine” (147). Despite Capon’s utter disregard for diets, I imagine that if one followed his recipe and adopted his way of life, they would see an increase in spirit and soul and perhaps even a decrease on the scale.