A summary of “Food between Curse & Cure: Islam, Health, and the Good Life” by Abū Munir al-Shaʿʿar et al (HayatTayyiba.com)
To buy the book, visit HayatTayyiba.com
A. Foods to avoid
Leave wheat and all things made from them. Modern wheat is responsible for widespread chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
2. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Avoid all GMO foods. Purchase food with certified non-GMO labels. If none exist, purchase from local farmers who do not use GMO seeds. In general, if the food looks too perfect with no blemishes or it does not spoil as normal food does, then it is likely genetically modified.
If your ancestors did not eat rice, then neither should you.
Eliminate all forms of added sugar in foods and beverages, and avoid artificial sweeteners.
5. Vegetable Oils and Fats
Leave all forms of harmful vegetable oils and fats, such as canola oil, corn oil, soy oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, and margarine. Most of these are extremely heat-unstable and have trans fats ad large amounts of free radicals.
Feeling fatigued without coffee is a sign that there is an underlying problem.
B. Foods to Eat
1. Vegetable Juice
Drink 250-500ml of vegetable juice with approximately 50g of ginger daily on an empty stomach.
Eat a lot of vegetables. Potatoes because of their high starch content should be eaten not more than once a week.
3. Bone broth
Drink 250ml of bone broth daily.
4. Trotter Soup
Drink 250ml of trotter soup including eating the soft tissue from the bones once a week.
Eat sardines ideally every day. Avoid those in vegetable oil.
6. Offal Meats
Eat offal meat often. They are rich in vitamins that can be stored in our bodies for months. Eat liver once or twice week. If anemic, twice daily for two weeks and repeat blood test.
7. Natural Oils and Fats
Ideally use highest quality. These include grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee, extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil, coconut oil, palm oil, macadamia nut oil and animal fats. Limit fried foods to once a month. Periodically check triglycerides to see how your body responds to these fats.
8. Natural, Grass-fed Milk
The best kind of milk is from free-range, grass-fed animals with no antibiotic or hormone use.
9. Fermented Foods
Fermented food contribute to gut health which is important to overall physical and mental health. These include kefir, yoghurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, traditional pickles, and so forth.
10. Free-range Local Chickens
11. Grain Alternatives
Use barley, oat, quinoa, and sorghum instead of wheat and rice. Soak grains overnight with vinegar or yoghurt to neutralize anti-nutrients like phytic acid.
12. Natural Sweeteners
Use honey, date syrup, maple syrup, or monk fruit instead of sugar but minimize sweeteners as a whole.
13. Black Seed and Honey
You may choose to eat one teaspoon of ground black seed mixed with natural honey once a week.
To reduce inflammation, eat a heaping tablespoon of powdered turmeric, mixing it with olive oil and a pinch of pepper on an empty stomach and wash it down with water, not eating for approximately thirty minutes thereafter.
C. Things to Drink
2. Alternative to Coffee and Tea
Try barley coffee or date pit coffee. For herbal teas such as chamomile, cumin, anise, turmeric, cinnamon, or ginger tea.
D. General Health Advice
1. No Smoking and No Alcoholic Beverages
Avoid plastics with foods or drinks especially when hot.
3. Reduce Electronic Device Usage
Reduce mobile phone and other electronic device usage except for necessity.
Get at least seven and a half hours of good quality sleep especially from ten ‘o’clock to twelve midnight.
Walk daily, even if only for forty minutes.
6. Sun Exposure
Expose ones limbs to direct sunlight for approximately thirty minutes so long as you do not get sunburn. People of darker complexion may need more.
7. Social Relationships
Have good-quality, in-person social relationships with collective activities.
8. Stress Relief
Too much stress – physical, emotional, or mental – is unhealthy. Address stressors in your lifestyle with social relationships and exercise. Avoid worry and anxiety by trusting in God as ultimate controller.
9. Body Oil
Oil one’s entire body with olive oil at least once per week.
Implement this program for forty days to restore the vitality of your body and maintain.
E. Selected Reading
1. William Davis, Wheat Belly (New York: Rodale, 2011)
2. Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions (Washington, DC: New Trends Publishing, 2001)
3. David Perlmutter, Brain Maker (New York: Little Brown, 2015)
4. Catherine and Luke Shanahan, Deep Nutrition (Lawai, HI: Big Box Books, 2009)
5. Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing. Ellen G. White Estates, 1905. Reprint 2017.