Possibly you wonder if there are nutritional principles specific to the barefoot runner. People do come up with interesting questions sometimes, like, “Do you need to eat a certain way to get the soles of your feet to toughen up?” or “Do you burn more calories because your feet are always exposed?” The answer to the first is: not in my experience. For the second question: If I burn more calories, it is because I am having more fun running barefoot, therefore am getting more exercise.
The connection that I find between barefoot running and my simple nutritional principles is that, because of my view of the world, they both make sense. Easy, fun sense that makes my life and my decisions less complicated. A less complicated life is less stressful. I don’t have to be constantly straining over the latest scientific discovery to know if I’m running correctly or eating well. Instead, I first filter all information according to the truths that I know.
This is not to say that there is nothing to learn. I am learning all the time. Strangely, though, I find that the more I learn, the more I find I could have relied on my world view as a sound basis for evaluating all the information around me, if I had only been thinking straight. The so-called experts are always changing their mind about everything. A lot of times they are manipulating the data, subconsciously or consciously, to fit their own presuppositions. And then, most important of all, they usually can’t even design tests that will really test that which they say they are testing. Human beings are just too complicated. This thing called “life” on our planet, is way beyond our understanding.
My world view is that God made everything, on purpose. He knew what he was doing and there’s not a lot we can do to permanently upset the environment in which he has placed us. I think He’s smarter than that and He cares for us enough to make it fairly hard for us to do long term damage that will bring the apocalypse before it is time. :-) HIS time. The manipulations that are tried on plants and animals, even with good intentions, are not sustainable over time. There is something in the genetic code that resists such man-made change. People forget over the generations what has been tried and observed. There is often panic because of the wrong world view!
It is true we can hurt ourselves and others, but even that has it’s limits. Those who engage in harmful activities tend to die off. Everything from gluttony to abortion thins out the population of those who practice it. We really have to go out of our way to harm ourselves. Our bodies and minds constantly harangue us if we either neglect or abuse them. It’s almost an irritating fail safe system. I may want to stay up for hours on end, but the body will eventually go to sleep. If I don’t eat well, I don’t feel well. I can ignore that up to a point, but sooner or later, the body rebels.
Those who gain power to oppress others can bring hurt, certainly. Sometimes it is slow and subtle, like faulty philosophies about how to discipline children. Other times it is drastic and shocking, such as an air raid. They can try techniques like brainwashing, but the truth is always available, if only people will listen. Mass murders may be perpetrated, but the killers eventually turn on their own in their wickedness. Some things are out of an individual’s control, but many times we have a choice about implementing what we have been told or how we respond to circumstance that makes all the difference.
Let’s go back to talking about feet and nutrition, for instance. Shoes have their place in the scheme of things. The weather can get dangerously cold or the terrain can be ferocious. I just have to wonder when it was that someone decided they could improve on the design of feet! Why did the bulk of the population listen when told that feet should be bound up tightly in boxes that are barely flexible, that often stress the legs and back by forcing the body to hold itself at odd angles? If it was a matter of evolution, I think we would be seeing new and amazing changes in the human body to make better use of these contraptions. Instead, the body really begs to go back to barefoot. Those who wear the strangest shoes have the worst problems. Did someone say fashionable high-heels? Why do women cling to current fashion like ancient Chinese societies insisted on mutilating the girls by binding their feet?
Food has its fads and fashions, too, in every society. Everything from questionable marketing to legalistic religion tries to pressure us into buying and eating or not buying certain foods. Even if we know about a few nutrients that the body needs, how does that make it better or smart to do anything other than eat real food? Again, back to world view: God made us. God made plants and told us we should eat them. Later, He said it would be a good idea to add animals to the diet. (None of this has anything to do with Jewish Law, which wasn’t given then, and we were later released from.) Discovering that some plants may be poisonous in certain amounts, doesn’t change the fact that many other plants have properties of nutritional value that we don’t comprehend and can’t duplicate.
So here are my simple, basic guidelines for eating well:
- Eat foods as close to their original, God-created form as possible. This includes butter.
- Eat a variety of foods, both between categories and in categories.
- Don’t stuff yourself full.
- Cooking some foods is good for digestion.
- Prepare food that tastes good, and the body will be more satisfied and want less.
- Enjoy some fermented drink.
- Wash your hands before you cook or eat.
These principles will help more than vitamin supplements or food labeled as organic ever will. They are not “law,” but the ideas can all be found as God’s ideas in the Bible. Food was designed to be enjoyed and make the body feel good. If that is happening, you are probably on the right track.