Next time you are craving a snack or unsure what to prepare for dinner, ask yourself, what would Jesus eat?
Still unsure?Â A new diet called the Maker's Diet promises to clear it up for you. This 40-day guide is built on principles first described in the Bible.
But some nutritionists aren't so sure that anyone can say for certain exactly what Jesus ate and whether or not it was good for him.
The Maker's Diet: The 40-Day Health Experience That Will Change Your Life Forever encompasses physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health. Written by Jordan S. Rubin, NMD, PhD, founder of Garden of Life health and wellness company in West Palm Beach, Fla., this new eating plan is rich in whole, organic foods and eventually includes red meat, carbs, and some saturated fats.
The catch is that all of these foods be consumed in their natural state -- unprocessed, unrefined, and untreated with pesticides or hormones. Carb is not a four-letter word in the Maker's Diet -- even starches and sugars are allowed as long as they are consumed in their natural, unrefined form such as brown rice, fermented whole grain sourdough bread, oats, and barley.
The diet is also replete with low carbohydrate, high-fiber foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, berries, grapes, certain seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes. Natural fats including those found in fish, cod liver oil, and the saturated fat found naturally in butters, cheeses, milk, and creams are also permitted. The Maker's Diet includes weekly partial fast days in each phase of the diet.
More Than Food
Reducing toxins is a key component of the Maker's Diet, and that includes avoiding water and toothpaste treated with fluoride, cavities filled with mercury, and overexposure to electromagnetic fields such as excess X-rays, cell phones, or microwave use. Rubin also recommends beginning and ending each day with a prayer for healing or thanks. Hygiene in the form of hand washing before meals and at other crucial times is also part of the new plan.
"While most people lose an average of 10 to 15 pounds in the first 40 days, The Maker's Diet goes far beyond a weight loss program, providing people with a lifelong roadmap for achieving and maintaining total wellness," Rubin says.
Maker's Diet in Action
The diet is broken down into three, two-week stages. The first stage is the most restrictive; prohibiting many commercial dairy products, chlorinated tap water, many fats and oils, and all carbs. As the weeks progress, more foods are introduced including red meat, carbs, and saturated fats.
Nutritionists Sound Off
"I don't know of any data that suggests that organic is better than other produce, but it's more expensive," says Ruth Kava, PhD, RD, director of nutrition at the American Council on Science and Health in New York. "'Organic' and 'natural' have that 'good-for-you buzz,' but there are a lot of natural poisons and carcinogens, so that part of this marketing ploy does not get me too excited." The Maker's Diet strongly encourages consuming organic fruits and vegetables.
She adds that in the distant past, people were unaware of vitamins. "We have come a long way in terms of our knowledge, and I don't think that should be ignored," she says.
"One of the things [Rubin] said is that our ancestors enjoyed exceptional health, but I don't know how he knows that from the Bible," she says.
Still, Kava says certain things in the Maker's Diet are reasonable -- healthful even. "It's a mixed bag," she says. "He picked up on a lot of the faddy, crazy things about modern lifestyles [such as danger from electromagnetic fields and avoiding fluoride in the water supply], but hand washing is important and reasonable."
Victoria Shanta-Retelny, RD, a dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Wellness Institute in Chicago, is less laudatory about the new, old diet. "The basic premise of The Maker's Diet, which is a '40-day health experience that will change your life forever,' begs skepticism," she tells WebMD.
"The plan is gimmicky as it focuses on fasting one day per week, which I don't recommend as a general guideline because we are not sure [what] a person's specific health concerns are, such as diabetes," she says.Â
What's more, there are a myriad of supplements that the diet touts as essential, she says.
"One of them, extra-virgin coconut oil, is marketed as the 'healthier oil' when the nutrition literature does not support this," she says. If anything, she says, "coconut oil is 92% saturated fat -- the type that can clog arteries."
Shanta-Retelny says the supplements and cleansing agents are not necessary if you are eating a healthy diet (and not eliminating food groups that are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals).
So is there any population that may benefit from the Maker's Diet?
"Since this diet is based (in part) on kosher practices, it may be better for a strict Orthodox Jewish population, who may practice holistic living, but I would not recommend it to the general population," she says.