Genisis 1:29 –Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” (Holy Bible NIV)
Ever wonder what dinner would have been like in the Garden on Eden? According to author Tomlin Campbell, you wouldn’t have to worry much about “making” food. Dinner, or any meal for that matter, was simply picked from the trees and then the sun “slow cooked” delicious, fresh foods to perfection. This raw food was the food that God intended for us to eat. Yet, despite humanity’s fruitful beginnings, American Christians have adopted a diet that is high in animal products, processed foods and ‘junk’ that would have been unrecognizable to Adam & Eve.
Many Christians often point to Genesis 1:28 orGenesis 9 for justification to eat animals. However, many theologians argue that the relationship between animal and man is more of a “stewardship” or guardian role rather than one of abuse, mistreatment and domination.
In his book, ‘Soulful Messages for the Christian Raw Food Enthusiast‘, Tomlin Campbell offers an insight to the raw vegan diet from a Christian perspective. Campbell’s prayer is that “people around the globe incorporate raw and living vegan food as the majority of their food program” and to bring Christians back to the Garden on Eden.
It’s 8:00 AM and hundreds of men are lined up awaiting registration for the ‘Know Your Numbers’ Men’s Health Conference hosted by Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church and Einstein Medical Health Networks. The event, now in it’s second year, focused on disease prevention by offering free medical screenings to men over the age of 18. As the event began to pick up, Tomlin and I met to discuss one of the most important forms of disease prevention and control: diet.
Tomlin, the self-proclaimed raw vegan enthusiast, has a laundry list of history with the raw food diet including but not limited to hosting seminars, consulting and leading the raw food ministry at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. In Soulful Messages for the Christian Raw Food Enthusiast, Tomlin serves as a coach to beginners who are interested in adopting a healthier lifestyle in the name of Christ.
“Raw and living food and God’s holy word are life-giving. One without the other is not balance”. [Excerpt from Soulful Messages for the Raw Food Enthusiast]
Philly Food for Thought (PFFT): What inspired you to write a raw food book from a Christian perspective?
Tomlin: I had to write a book that represented me. To not include the message of Christ in my book would have been hard for me.
(PFFT): What is a raw vegan diet?
Tomlin: A raw vegan diet is plant-based and does not include any animal products. It’s made of all plant foods- fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seaweed. There is no milk, cheese, or eggs. Unlike a conventional vegan diet, raw vegans do not remove the nutrients from our food by cooking it. The raw vegan diet is full of alkaline foods that are good for the body. Acidic vegan food, the highly processed fake meats and soy products are not part of the raw food diet.
PFFT: Do you believe that the Bible justifies the consumption of meat?
Tomlin: After the flood of Noah, meat became introduced into the human diet. God said that he allowed man to eat meat but I do not think it’s the ideal food that God intended for us to eat. When sin came into the world, death became a product of sin. When you kill something, it is death. Even though eating animals was permitted, the Lord knew it would be desired. I do not think that it is ideal.
PFFT: How does our current diet effect humanity as a whole?
Tomlin: Not only are we destroying the earth’s ecosystems with toxins, we are destroying our own ecosystems as well. Our bodies are full of flowing rivers. We pollute our rivers with chemicals. How can we expect to have normal blood pressure or healthy blood when we are polluting and disrupting the flow of the rivers in our bodies?
“The Word also says resist the devil and He will flee from you (James 4:7). When you feel like eating donuts rather than green smoothies, you can’t resist Him with your own power. For some of us, the donut is like a drug. It’s calling you.” [Excerpt from Soulful Messages for the Christian Raw Food Enthusiast]
PFFT: Why do you believe there is such a disconnect between people and the food that we eat?
Tomlin: We’ve lost connection with our food. The scripture in Genesis never talks about the ‘Farm of Eden’ or the ‘Factory Farm of Eden; it’s the Garden of Eden. The Garden is consistent of fruits, vegetables and seeds. It is a peaceful environment. Animals did not have to worry about being eaten. It was a heavenly experience for humans and animals alike…
Today, we’ll eat a bucket of chicken without caring about the source of the meat. Our diets are all based on taste. It is no longer about nourishment. When we get to a point where the taste of health is more important than the taste of food then we would be healthier emotionally, spiritually and physically. We are such pleasure seekers that we are not satisfying our needs. Our people have to stop eating this way. We are eating without thinking. Sugary cereals, cakes and candies are being eaten for the sake of fun. The sad part about it is that many of us do not have the knowledge to know what we’re doing is harmful.
PFFT: How did Christians move towards a diet full of meat, processed and other unhealthy foods?
Tomlin: In the Christian church, I see how people eat. In the Bible, food was used to take down the world. In the Garden of Eden, the enemy tempted Eve with a poisonous apple that allowed sin into our world. It’s the same thing now; the enemy is working to keep Christians sick with food. When Christians are healthier, they can joyfully spread the word of Jesus Christ…I’ve even had family members die prematurely due to food related diseases. We’re eating meat that has been grown cruelly in factory farms. That is not Garden of Eden material. Our current system is a holocaust of animals.
PFFT: What are some barriers that may prevent people from adopting a raw vegan diet?
Tomlin: The higher one’s income, the easier it is to follow a raw diet. There have been times when my finances weren’t in the right place and I had to eat cooked food. If you cannot fully adopt the diet, I highly recommend a daily green smoothie. All you need is a good blender. Green smoothies are fruits and greens blended together; normally a collard green, kale, spinach or arugala blended with bananas, mangoes or avocado.
“Green smoothies are replacing eggs, bacon, and toast and a bowl of sugared processed cereals. Green smoothies are becoming the new breakfast in America. Can you say Hallelujah?” [Excerpt from Soulful Messages for the Christian Raw Food Enthusiast]
PFFT: In your book, you introduce readers to the acronym JESUS 4S. Can you tell us what that acronym is and what inspired you to come up with it?
Tomlin: JESUS 4S came to mind while I was substitute teaching at Gratz High School. When preparing raw meals, remember the JESUS 4S acronym: J (juices and drinks), E (entrees), S (smoothies), U (put YOU into it), and S (savory soups). The 4S component are as follows: S1 (salads and side dishes), S2 (super foods),S3 (sauces) and S4 (snacks). Soulful Messages for the Christian Raw Food Enthusiast includes many recipes for beginner raw foodies to recreate in their own homes. The acronym serves as a reminder.
PFFT: What do you say to Christians who continue to eat a diet based in animal products?
Tomlin: If a person is going to eat meat, it is not for me to judge. If you decide to eat meat, eat it wisely. Is the meat organic? Did the animal live in sunshine? You don’t want to eat meat that was caged in slavery-like conditions. You don’t want to digest the hormones, steroids, and antibiotics that the factory farmers are injecting into the meat supply. It is not compassionate. Our bodies are our temples and should be treated as such.
“How would you like to put a rainbow inside of you? You can. Eat raw and living vegan foods. The food is very colorful. It is the rainbow. You’ve heard you are what you eat. Well, you really take on the energy of what you put inside you.” [Excerpt from Soulful Messages for the Vegan Raw Enthusiast]
No matter what belief system you identify with, history tells us that religion has been used throughout history to dominate, enslave, exploit and mistreat weaker populations. In regards to animal ethics, one also must acknowledge the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals in our current food system. Does “dominion” over animals justify mistreatment towards these living beings, or has the message been lost in translation?