When I was in 6th grade Johnny used to ask me to sit with him for lunch. I would take out my bologna sandwich and chocolate chip cookie while I gazed in wonder at Johnny's lunch. He brought a carrot sandwich on whole wheat bread and goat's milk.
When I told my family about Johnny's curious lunch they said he must be a 7th Day Adventist--whatever that was. Both Johnny and his older sister had the most beautiful skin, pale and clear with incredibly rosy cheeks.
I first heard about Loma Linda when I read the book, The Blue Zones, about small settlements scattered across the globe where the people experience unusual longevity and healthy old age. Loma Linda, a mountain community east of Los Angeles, is one of these blue zones.
The people of Loma Linda are 7th Day Adventists who practice a healthy life style as part of their religous practices. They are vegetarian. "Never eat anything that has a mother," they say. They also believe in exercise and fresh air.
Everyone knows this is the best way to live, but the Adventists are successful because these beliefs are built into their religion. I was taught as a child being raised as a Catholic that "The body is the temple of the soul." This belief is shared by the Adventists who believe that it is wrong to abuse the body. True adherents also shy away from alcohol and stimulants like coffee and tea and emphasize whole grains. Sugar is consumed in moderation.
I have spent the past year trying to lose weight and managed to shed only ten pounds. I have decided to try a new tactic. Instead of dieting and failing I am trying to live a healthy lifestyle by following the principles of the Adventists.
My body, I keep reminding myself, is the temple of my soul, and I will treat it as such with respect and reverence. No more abuse. Just don't ask me to give up wine.