Kale, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, herbs…
When did God introduce leafy greens into man’s diet, why did he do it, and what are the benefits of eating these types of vegetables?
When was the original diet changed?
In this post, I’ll be covering the second time God gives Adam and Eve instructions in the Bible about what they should be eating.
In short, Adam and Eve’s VERY first diet consisted ONLY of plant yielding seeds, and trees with fruits as their seeds. If you’d like to learn more about the original diet, check out this blog post.
And that diet was perfectly suited to their needs at that time. But something major happens in their life, and it affects what God tells them to eat.
What am I talking about?
Adam and Eve’s sin when they ate the forbidden fruit.
The serpent seduces Eve.
Eve eats the fruit and gives some to Adam and he eats it as well.
Right after that, they immediately recognize their error.
God shows up, and the next thing you know EVERYBODY gets cursed.
Take a look at Genesis chapter 3, verse 17.
And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you, in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
In verse 18 God is telling Adam and Eve to eat something that he’d previously only allotted to animals – the plants of the field. (That’s back in Genesis 1:30).
How did the Fall effect Adam and Eve’s life?
Take a look at the consequences that result directly from Adam and Eve’s sin:
- Now, people have to deal with threats from animals. There’s now hostility or conflict between people and snakes.
- Childbirth becomes dangerous and excruciatingly painful.
- Men and women will now forever be locked in a power struggle.
- The ground is now full of weeds, thorns and thistles that have to be tended
- Man now has to strive and toil and work hard for a living
- And the worst and most significant consequence of all…PHYSICAL DEATH is now a thing and presumably all the illnesses and circumstances that cause it.
As a result of sin, things aren’t looking too good for the future.
But then God adds something SIGNIFICANT to their original diet – leafy greens.
So, why did God change the original diet?
After the fall, men and women had to endure an enormous and unprecedented level of stress.
Could this be the very reason why their diet HAD to change and these SPECIFIC plant foods were added?
Stress can have an adverse impact on our health, and can bring on or worsen every disease known to man.
Specifically, stress can…
- weaken the immune system
- trigger headaches
- increase the risk of depression
- trigger cardiovascular disease
- cause hormonal imbalances, and
- adversely impact the digestive system
Now, even though mankind has to suffer the consequences of disobedience, God provided a means to lessen some of that physiological impact with these NEW dietary additions.
So, let’s talk about some of the benefits of eating leafy greens.
What are leafy greens and what type of nutrients do they have?
Leafy greens are just plant leaves, and there are nearly a thousand different kinds of edible greens. Some popular types you’ve probably eaten before are Arugula, Romaine, Green or Red Leaf Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Mustard and Collard Greens, Broccoli, or Cabbage.
The word used in the original Hebrew is `eseb, which means herb, herbage, grass, or green plant.
Initially, in Genesis 1:29, God instructed Adam and Eve to only eat plants bearing or yielding seeds but now in Genesis 3:18 His dietary guidance expands to include ALL green plants. There is a clear distinction in the text.
Green plants are packed with vitamins like A, C, E, K, and many of the B-vitamins.
They are also rich in antioxidants that can protect cells against cancer development.
They have high levels of fiber, iron, and minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Additionally, greens are nutrient dense which is just a fancy way of saying a food is high in nutrients but low in calories.
What are the benefits of eating leafy greens?
In terms of how these foods affect our physiology, here are just a few health benefits from adding greens to the diet. They…
- Improve digestion
- Boost bone health
- Balance cholesterol levels
- Fight free radicals
- Support heart health
- Boost energy levels
- Support overall detoxification
- Prolong lifespan
So, when you think about the detrimental impacts that the original sin had on mankind…it’s pretty incredible that God had already provided some solutions in the form of additional foods.
God is incredibly generous, isn’t he?
He provided Adam and Eve what they needed before they even knew they needed it…and He did so even when they didn’t deserve it.
And since God doesn’t play favorites, he will do the same thing for us! (Acts 10:34-35)
Everything that God does and says is for a purpose. Every command has an intention behind it.
If God told Adam and Eve to eat greens after the fall, it’s because it was GOOD for them..and consequently, that means it’s GOOD for us as well.
In conclusion, if you’re not doing so already, be sure you’re getting ample leafy greens in your diet. That’s a really simple way to take better care of your temple.
I’d love to hear what you think about this post, so drop your comments below.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DALILA JONES STITZ
Founder and CEO, Health Insurrection LLC
Dalila is a native Houstonian and currently lives in Switzerand with her husband and two kids. She received her health coach training through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and Hallelujah Acres and teaches in-home bible studies and online courses.