|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2013)|
The Bible Diet (also known as the Maker's Diet) is a diet promoted on radio and in books by writer and motivational speaker Jordan S. Rubin, who says it is based on teachings from the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy and other books of the bible, that certain foods are either forbidden ("unclean") or acceptable ("clean") to God. Rubin also markets supplements associated with the diet though his company Garden of Life, Inc.
Rubin claims that the diet was responsible for his recovery from Crohn's disease at the age of 19. Growing up in a Messianic Jewish home, he knows how Jewish people eat. When he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, he went to all kinds of doctors, and finally turned to the Bible. He went on a Jewish diet, and his body healed from the "uncureable" disease, as Crohn's disease is often called. Wanting to share his newfound knowledge, he wrote The Maker's Diet, a book that explains his story and how to do it yourself. As of 2008, there are no peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that evaluate this diet. In 2004 the United States Food and Drug Administration ordered Rubin's company, Garden of Life, Inc., to stop making unsubstantiated claims about eight of its products and supplements.
The diet classifies food according to certain factors such as how the food was raised, cooked or cleaned; how a particular animal lived, such as if it was a so-called "creeping" animal or not; and its physical form, such as whether a certain fish had fins and scales or not. While the Bible diet is largely influenced by Jewish dietary law, the rules for determining clean and unclean foods are derived from certain passages from the Bible in the books of Genesis, Proverbs, Luke, Paul, Exodus, Peter, Leviticus, Judges, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, 1 Corinthians, Habakkuk, and Daniel.
In short features based on Rubin's book The Maker's Diet that aired on Christian radio in the United States, Rubin was previously promoted as a "Biblical Health Coach". As of September 2009 these features are titled "Take a Moment for Your Health" and he is instead listed as an author giving "lifestyle advice" based on his book.
The foods incorporated in this diet are organic vegetables, fruits and legumes. The diet also encourages the removal of unclean and unacceptable foods from the individual's diet. This natural, organic approach to eating suggests that one should only eat things created by God in the way they were intended. That means no processed foods or those produced with contact to hormones, pesticides or fertilizers. Rubin takes two of his main dietary laws from Leviticus. Leviticus (11:9-10) states that one should eat "whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters" but not to eat "all that have not fins and scales in the seas." Rubin says that this means that fish with scales are intended to be eaten, such as salmon and trout, but smooth fish such as catfish and eels should not be eaten. It also means that crustaceans with hard shells such as lobsters, crabs, and clams are not to be eaten. The other main dietary law taken from The Bible is also taken from Leviticus (11:3 and 11:7-8). Here The Bible says that man should eat "whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud". Man should not eat "the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you." This means that most animals can be eaten, such as cows, goats, and sheep because all these animals chew their cud. The dietary laws that Rubin derives from these passages are generally the same as the Kosher laws followed by Jewish people. In addition to the dietary laws taken directly from The Bible, Rubin believes in eating a variety of whole foods that have not been processed, or that have not been greatly processed. This generally means choosing foods like brown rice, which has not been processed much, over white rice, which is significantly processed. Rubin also believes that organic foods and meat from animals that were raised eating grass instead of wild grain is more in line with the foods man was intended to eat. Snacks are not mandated in this diet, but it is advised to feel free to snack on the foods listed as acceptable.
The types of foods that can be eaten include:
- Grains - barley, corn, millet, oats, rice, rye, wheat
- Seeds - sunflower, sesame, flax, pumpkin
- Legumes - soybeans, lentils, peas, peanuts, other beans
- Succulent foods containing seed - bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, melons, okra, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes
- Fruits - citrus fruits such as lemons and limes, palm fruits, sweet fruits
- Nuts - almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, pecans, walnuts
- Herbs (vegetables): beet greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard, globe artichoke, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, potatoes, turnips
The types of animals that can be eaten include:
- Livestock - cow, deer, lamb, caribou, buffalo, elk, goat, moose
- Fish - bass, bluefish, crappie, perch, pike, salmon, sunfish, trout
- Birds - chicken, turkey, pheasant, grouse, quail
- Insects - locusts, crickets, grasshoppers
Phase One of the Bible diet restricts foods high in carbohydrates such as grains, pastas, breads, sugar, potatoes, corn, beans, and legumes. Although the people on the diet consumed foods containing carbohydrates, they were of high quality and less processed.
Phase One restricts meats such as pork, bacon, ostrich, ham, sausages, emu and imitation meat. Fish and sea foods such as fried fish, breaded fish, eel, shark, crab, clams, oyster, mussels, lobster, shrimp, scallops, and craw fish are prohibited. Poultry such as fried chicken and breaded chicken is restricted. Phase one inhibits luncheon meats such as ham, roast beef, and corned beef. Imitation eggs are restricted. Fats and oils such as lard, shortening, sunflower oil, cotton seed oil, margarine, soy oil, corn oil, and any partially hydrogenated oil may not be consumed. Nuts and seeds such as honey-roasted nuts, or seeds dry or roasted in oil are prohibited. Condiments, and seasonings such as all spices that contain added sugar, commercial ketchup with sugar and barbecue sauce with sugar may not be consumed. All fruits except berries, grapefruit, limes, and lemons must be avoided. Beverages such as alcohol, fruit juices, sodas, chlorinated tap water, and pre-ground commercial coffee are not allowed. All grains and starchy foods including pasta cereal, pastries, and baked goods must be avoided. Sweeteners such as sugar, heated honey and all artificial sweeteners are forbidden. Milk or whey protein powder from cow's milk, soy protein powder and rice protein powder are restricted.
Phases of the Diet
The diet is divided into three phases over a 40 day period and broken into three levels: basic, intermediate, and advanced. According to Rubin, the dieter should choose a beginning phase based on their overall starting health and their desired improvements. The chief purpose of the diet is to achieve optimal health by means of nutrition and spirituality.
Prayer, Purpose and "Partial-fast" days
The diet begins and ends each day with prayers of thanksgiving, healing, and petition. The individual should perform exercises of "Life Purpose" for two to five minutes before the day gets too stressful. The exercise should be used as a time of alignment and reflection with realignment cycles taking place every ninety minutes. Rubin recommends that one day per week in each phase, a partial fast day is taken to allow the body to cleanse and rebuild. On these partial fast days, breakfast and lunch should not be consumed, although, if supplements are being taken, they should still be consumed. Fluid consumption is crucial during these days especially raw vegetables juices and pure water. To achieve the utmost spiritual benefits from the partial fast days, it is suggested to pray each time hunger is experienced.
The daily regimens help the dieter keep track of their diet while concurrently providing guidelines to achieve optimum results. It consists of morning and evening prayers, regular consumption of breakfast, lunch and dinner, morning and evening exercise, good hygiene practices and the consumption of cleansing drinks. The hygiene factor involves eliminating germs and aromatherapy practices in the morning and evening. The cleansing drink is a mixture of two tablespoons of a whole-food fiber blend and 1-2 tablespoons of a green superfood blend in 8 to 12 ounces of purified water or diluted vegetable juice, shaken vigorously and consumed immediately. The regimen also insists that the dieter be in bed before 10:30 p.m. every night.
The diet begins with Phase One, which encompasses the first two weeks of the diet (days 1-14). Phase One is designed to stabilize insulin and blood sugar while reducing inflammation and infection, enhancing digestion and helping to balance the hormones in the body. This phase restricts disaccharide-rich carbohydrate foods such as grains, pastas, breads, sugar, potatoes, corn, beans, and legumes. The object of this, according to Rubin, is to achieve a detoxifying effect while simultaneously improving the overall health and helping to manage the individual's weight in a healthy manner. This phase should greatly reduce the risk of incurring disease by effectively helping the body reduce insulin sensitivity and balancing the omega-3/omega-6 ratio. Since Phase One is designed to correct harmful imbalances, it must temporally limit healthy, high sugar foods such as fruits, whole grains, and honey while allowing for the liberal consumption of protein foods, vegetables, and healthy oils. Phase one is considered the most difficult phase of the diet due to the commitment factors. Water intake should be increased and rest should be taken when necessary.
Phase Two consists of weeks three to four (days 15-28). According to Rubin, digestion should have improved along with energy level. Weight loss will continue during this phase, but at a slower pace than Phase One.
The final phase of the diet beings in the fifth week and continues for the duration that the individual maintains the diet (days 29-40 and beyond). It is considered to be the maintenance phase of the diet and is specifically designed to allow and encourage healthful eating of foods from each of the permitted groups. In this phase, healthy grains and foods higher in sugars and starches, such as potatoes, are reintroduced. Weight should stabilize in this phase and only key areas of the health scheme, such as overall body health, continue to improve. If one deviates from the diet, it is advised to go back to Phase One or Two for a week or two to get back into the flow of the diet.
Rubin claims that his recommendations will enable dieters to concentrate better, and will enhance their moods. He also says that his diet can reduce arthritis pain and inflammation, and can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. He also says that it can reverse the "accelerated aging" caused by the way people eat and live today.
Scientific acceptance and criticism
Jordan Rubin has been criticized because his education in nutrition is a degree in Naturopathic Medicine from the Peoples University of the Americas, which is not accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education nor licensed by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners, and a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the Academy of Natural Therapies, which is not accredited by the American Dietetic Association or other mainstream nutrition organizations.
As of 2008, there are no peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that evaluate the claims made by Rubin. In line with the general knowledge that exercise is beneficial for health, The Gale Encyclopedia of Diets praised the Bible diet for this aspect. It found, however, that the emphasis on organic foods is not directly supported by scientific evidence.
Another area of concern have been the supplements that are required or recommended for the Bible's diet program. These supplements are made by Rubin's company Garden of Life, Inc. In a letter dated May 11, 2004 the United States Food and Drug Administration ordered the company to stop making unsubstantiated claims about eight of its products and supplements. The claims were made in brochures, on labels, and in Rubin's book Patient Heal Thyself.
- Rubin, Jordan S. The Maker's Diet. New York: Penguin, 2004.
- Helen Davidson (2008). "Maker's Diet". In Jacqueline L. Longe. The Gale Encyclopedia of Diets: A Guide to Health and Nutrition. Thomson Gale. pp. 643–46. ISBN 1-4144-2991-6..
- Rubin, Jordan S. The Maker's Diet. New York: Penguin, 2004.
- Rubin, Jordan S. The Maker's Diet. New York: Penguin, 2004.
- Phase 1: Correcting Harmful Imbalances" Makersdiet 17 October 2008
- Phase 2: Returning to Optimal Health" Makersdiet 17 October 2008
- Phase 3: Claiming Health for Life" Makersdiet 17 October 2008
- "An Explanation of the Phases and Levels of the Maker's Diet" 19 October 2008
- Ministries 9 September 2008
- Jordan's Story at jordanrubin.com
- "Jordan Rubin and Garden of Life Ordered to Stop Making Unsubstantiated Advertising Claims" at Quackwatch
- "The Maker’s Diet Revolution" Latest book by Jordan Rubin 4 May 2013