Estimated reading time: 20 minute(s)
by Fudia Muhammad
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote, “There is no way of prolonging the life of human beings – or any other life – unless it begins with restrictions of the foods which sustain life: the right kinds of food and the proper time when it should be taken into our bodies.” These words are taken from the first page of the first of two books he wrote titled, How to Eat to Live. The main purpose of teaching us how to eat to live is to “prolong our lives.” Having an abundant life is a promise made to us from God through His Servant: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, KJV). Allah (God) will not fail in His promise to us, but the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that He demands strict obedience to His Will.
There is no substitute or shortcut for acquiring and reading every single word of How to Eat to Live, Books I & II – several times – and then personally implementing this dietary law so that we may begin to benefit from a Teaching that was given to the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad from God in Person. The Holy Qur’an declares that Allah (God) will send to us a messenger who will inform us of what we should eat and what we should store in our houses (3:48). The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad fulfills this prophetic scripture.
Those who are familiar with the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad know that his followers follow a strict diet. Many are aware that we only eat one meal a day; we fast regularly; and we do not eat swine or scavengers. By simply practicing these minimal restrictions,one will begin to experience immediate health benefits. However, in order to reach the level that Allah (God) desires for us, which is our god-potential, we must apply and master the comprehensive scope of the wisdom found in How to Eat to Live.
In this world, when women are pregnant or nursing, their doctors or midwives will advise them to eliminate certain foods and beverages from their diet and tell them to increase their intake of healthier foods which contain higher levels of rich vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Expectant or nursing mothers are typically asked to avoid large fish that are high in mercury such as tuna and swordfish. They are also asked to avoid eating raw and under cooked fish; raw eggs; organ meats; caffeine; alcohol; nicotine; junk foods; and microwaves – just to name a few. Have you ever wondered why it is okay for a woman to consume such things when she is not pregnant, but the same foods or activities are considered harmful when she is? The answer is – it is not okay. Ninety percent of the time, if your diet and lifestyle is not good for your baby; then it was never good for you in the first place.
How to Eat to Live, Books I & II do not offer an alternative diet in terms of “what” a pregnant or nursing mother should eat. It does, however, make exceptions for pregnant and nursing mothers,as well as for children on “how” they should eat. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote, “EAT GOOD FOOD so that you will be able to give your baby good, pure milk. You can drink cows’ milk; your own milk glands will put it into the right stage for your child. Be careful as to what kind of drugs you take while nursing your baby. And do not take fasts while you are breast-feeding an infant or even while you are pregnant. If you like, you may eat once a day while pregnant or breast-feeding your baby, but you are not forced to do so. You should not go for two or three days without eating” (Book II, page 90).
We emphasize that the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that if you are pregnant or breast-feeding an infant, you should NOT fast and you are NOT forced to eat one meal a day. Several studies have indicated that there has been a dramatic decline in the nutritional value of most fruits, vegetables, grains and other crops over the decades. Most notable was a landmark study by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry – published in the December 2004 Journal of the American College of Nutrition. According to this and numerous studies, the primary culprit is the depletion of the soil, overuse of fertilizers and overall poor agricultural practices that seek to produce bigger crops, much faster – profit over health. The result is that today’s crops are not as rich in vitamins and minerals as the fruits and vegetables grown decades ago. For example, it was determined in a similar study that one would have to eat eight oranges to equal the nutritional value of one orange from several decades ago.
It is no secret that pregnant and nursing mothers have heightened sensitivities, which are not just reflected emotionally, but also physically. All senses are at their optimum during this period of maternity; including intense food cravings and aversions. It is important that we are conscious of our cravings because more often than not, it may be that our body is signaling to us that we are lacking some nutrient contained in that food. Meaning, it is not so much that the food we crave is what we need, but we need the nutrients found in that particular food. So, if what we crave is not a healthy choice, then we should determine which nutrients the food contains and choose a healthier alternative.
The Holy Qur’an guides mothers to breast-feed their babies for two whole years. For the first few months,the infant is one-hundred percent exclusively reliant on mother’s milk for all of his or her nutritional needs. Therefore, it is just as important to eat an adequate amount of the best foods while breast-feeding as it was when we were pregnant. Our food should be organic, Non-GMO, fresh (not canned or frozen) and prepared properly.
According to How to Eat to Live, our fruits should be eaten raw and our vegetables should be cooked – but not overly cooked and robbed of their nutritional value. We should eat whole wheat bread that is at least 24-hours old (never freshly-baked, right out of the oven). We should beware of starchy foods and sweets; and we should drink pure fresh whole milk. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad wrote, “No bean did He advise, except the small navy – the small size and not the larger size – the little brown pink ones, and the white ones. This bean He valued to be very high in protein, fats and starches, and it is a safe food for prolonging life”(Book I, page 5). The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad also taught that no meat is good for us; he said, “TO EAT MEAT is against our life and shortens the span of our life” (Book II, page 63).
In his lecture, How to Give Birth to a God: Part Two, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “Put the best food in yourself…Eat fresh food, not canned food; not frozen food. Go where there are fresh vegetables, fresh fruit – eat it while there’s life in it. Cook it and know how to cook it, that you don’t cook the life out of it; so that when you feed yourself, you’re feeding life into yourself. Because you’re going to make tissues and flesh and a pump and cylinders and veins; you know, almost six miles of veins – nerves. This is what you’re going to make from what you eat. You’re going to fashion a brain.”
All praise is due to Allah (God)!
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)