Chapter 4 - Think


“Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you.”

–Henry David Thoreau

I was just thinking about the fact that most Americans never really think about what they eat and drink; whether or not it is good for them. In fact, most people today don’t really think at all: they just follow the crowd. George Bernard Shaw, who died in 1950, made this observation about his generation:

“Few people think more than two or three times a year. I’ve made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.”

I’m afraid that in our advanced, modern society, we have so many distractions in our lives that most people think even less today! Meanwhile, since we are too busy to think for ourselves about what is best to put in our bodies, others are thinking for us – but I assure you they are not thinking of us.

So, if most of us are not thinking for ourselves about our diet and lifestyle, just who, or what, is thinking for us? Allow me to suggest three possibilities.

#1 - Family Tradition

Probably one of the strongest influences on our diet and lifestyle is family tradition. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood in rural Alabama are linked to the sights, sounds and smells in my granny’s kitchen. Whenever I spent the night with my grandparents, I would wake up early in the morning to the smell of coffee percolating, the unmistakable sound and aroma of bacon sizzling in the pan, and the mouth-watering scent of homemade biscuits baking in the oven.

To this day I cannot think of a more delicious breakfast than Granny’s biscuits covered with butter and smothered in gravy, scrambled eggs, grits, crispy strips of bacon and hot coffee. It was unforgettably delicious! But was it nutritious? Well, that’s debatable. But, hey, it’s a family tradition!

Speaking of family tradition, there was a famous singer/songwriter from Alabama named Hank Williams. He died at the age of 29, about five years before I was born, but I was told that my grandpa had been known to share a drink with him on occasion. Hank died of a heart attack, presumably brought on by alcohol and prescription drug abuse.

His son, Hank Williams, Jr., wrote and recorded a song in 1979 entitled “Family Tradition.” In it he alludes to his custom of drinking and rolling smokes as a family tradition. I believe it goes without saying that not all family traditions are good for your health.

But enough talk about bad stuff – let’s get back to the good stuff – food! As Christians, we know that we should avoid alcohol and drug abuse, and many of us even abstain from the use of tobacco. But we have to eat. The body has to have food to survive, just as it must have water and oxygen. Those things don’t require thought, do they? We always breathe without thinking, we drink something when we’re thirsty, and we eat when we’re hungry. What’s there to think about?

In the previous chapter on water, I made the following statement: “If you are like most Americans, the number one thing that you can do to easily and immediately improve your health and begin to gradually return to a healthy weight is this: Stop drinking your calories and start drinking good water.”

Well, guess what: that requires thought. Think about it; it’s a simple change that anyone can make in their daily routine, but it does require a conscious decision. In fact, it requires a number of conscious decisions every day. Every time you are presented with options of things to drink, you need to choose water.

In his book, Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink, Ph.D. points out that “…the average person makes well over 200 decisions about food every day.”[1] Wow! That’s a lot of thinking. And, as Mr. Thoreau so eloquently declared: “Think for yourself, or others will think for you without thinking of you.”

My grandparents that I mentioned earlier were my dad’s parents. In contrast, my mom was born and raised in Philadelphia. Her parents had emigrated from Sicily, so her gastronomic family traditions were much different. Grandpa Gallo brought his pasta maker when he came to visit us in Alabama once, and his homemade ravioli was the stuff of legend!

Today, one of my favorite foods in the whole wide world is pizza! But interestingly, that craving has absolutely nothing to do with my Italian family traditions. In fact, I didn’t even develop a taste for pizza until I was grown – many years after all of my grandparents had died. So, to what do I owe this relatively recently acquired passion for pizza?  

I believe I have discovered the answer to that question, and in so doing have unlocked some of the greatest mysteries of our time. I will give you that answer in a moment, but first, let us consider a few of these great mysteries of our advanced civilization.

Mysteries Revealed


For at least 6,000 years, most humans were able to take care of their own health. Why, in our advanced, modern society, does everyone now require a “health care provider?” 


At this point of the video…

“Over a relatively short time, prescription drugs have become accepted as an integral part of life in the U.S. Approximately 85% of adults aged 60 years and older reported taking at least one prescription drug in the previous month...”

Published October 25, 2023


Another great mystery of our time is this: Why, all of a sudden, after thousands of years of human existence with most people dying of “old age,” is it now considered “normal” to be on prescription medications for the last half of your short life?

And, what about this one? While it has always been normal for babies to put anything and everything in their mouth because they don’t know any better, why do most American adults today consider it “normal” to put things in their mouth without knowing what they are comprised of, even though most of them contain chemicals and substances that my grandmother would not have recognized? Think about it: do you really know what Tripotassium Phosphate is? Did you realize that it’s the fifth ingredient listed for Cheerios? At least it’s not further up the list, like third or fourth: the ingredients that occupy those spots are all too familiar – sugar and salt! But, cheer up! The front of the box assures us that it is “Heart Healthy!”

At what point in our society did we go from producing and preparing our own food to depending on so called “food manufacturers” to provide for our nutritional needs?

And by the way, I consider the term “food manufacturer” to be an oxymoron. God created the body, and He created all the food the body needs to stay healthy.

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

Genesis 1:29

Then, after the Flood, God added meat to the diet.

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

Genesis 9:3

Later, God gave more specific instructions concerning the consumption of meat which I will address later, but for now the point I want to stress is that God is the only One capable of creating food that will adequately nourish the body. I assure you that any “food” that Man manufactures is at best less than ideal, and in most cases downright harmful.

Let’s go back to Cheerios as an example. When I accessed on December 17, 2023, I saw a picture of the box with a red banner across the front which states, “CAN HELP LOWER CHOLESTEROL AS PART OF A HEART HEALTHY DIET.”

Really? Then, in the description on the website they claim repeatedly that the product is “heart healthy.” Is that true? Let’s take a quick look at the ingredients.

1.   Whole Grain Oats

a.   CORRECTION: Extruded whole grain oats – not the same thing as the whole grain oats that Marshia and I use to make our oatmeal.

b.   According to an article on the Advanced Allergy Solutions website entitled “Is Your Breakfast Cereal Toxic?” the extrusion process destroys many of the nutrients, and the puffed grain may actually be toxic![2]

2.   Corn Starch

a.   According to, cornstarch may increase blood sugar levels and it may harm heart health![3]

3.   Sugar

a.   According to Harvard Health Publishing, "The effects of added sugar intake — higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease — are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke," says Dr. Frank Hu.[4]

4.   Salt

a.   Hmm…I don’t recall ever hearing salt referred to as being “heart healthy.”

5.   Tripotassium Phosphate

a.   According to GoodRx, “If the potassium level gets too high (a condition called “hyperkalemia”), one of the biggest problems is that the heart can have trouble staying in a normal rhythm. This can even be life-threatening because the heart can stop beating and lead to cardiac arrest.”[5]

It then lists some vitamins and minerals that are added which don’t even begin to compare with the nutrients that were stripped from the oats when they were extruded.

Bottom line: It is a blatant lie to say that Cheerios are “heart healthy.” Period.

Again, at what point in our society did we go from producing and preparing our own food to depending on so called “food manufacturers” to provide for our nutritional needs? How did we get to this point?

#2 – Hidden Persuaders

I believe the answer to these and many other mysteries can be found in what Vance Packard called “The Hidden Persuaders.” This is the second of the major influences that dictate our diet and lifestyle. In modern America, I believe it may actually be a stronger influence than family tradition, and I am convinced that I owe my relatively recently acquired passion for pizza to some of these hidden persuaders.

In our next chapter, “Rethink,” we’ll expose some of these “Hidden Persuaders.” You will be shocked to discover how many things you – yes, you – have believed all your life to be true, that were actually propaganda designed to influence you to buy a particular product, or think a certain way.

A Simple Tip

Before we move on, I would like to share a simple tip that could literally change your life.

I’m sure you’ve heard the idiom, “Leave no stone unturned.” According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it means, “To do everything you can to achieve a good result, especially when looking for something.”

Are we looking for something? Yes – a healthy weight. The emphasis is on “healthy.” Adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle, and your body will return to a healthy weight.

Now, here is an extremely simple tip that will quickly transform your health and weight. As an aid to assist us in doing everything we can to achieve a good result, I have coined a brand-new idiom:

“Leave no package unturned.”

Don’t be fooled by the front of a package: turn it over and read the ingredients.

In his book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Michael Pollan offers some very practical advice: “Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.”[6]

Leave no package unturned. Read the ingredients. If there are more than five, set it aside; if you care about your heart, don’t put it in your cart.

Think about it!

I’ll see you next time.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1. Wansink, Brian. Mindless Eating. Hay House, 2001, P.1.

2. “Is your breakfast cereal toxic?” Advanced Allergy Solutions, 23 Jan. 2015,

3. Link, Rachael, MS, RD. “Is Cornstarch Bad for You? Nutrition and Health Effects.” Healthline, 28 Aug. 2020,

4. “The sweet danger of sugar.” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, 6 Jan. 2022,

5. Dreis, Michael, MD. “What Is a High Potassium Level?” GoodRx, 3 Mar. 2022,

6. Pollan, Michael. Food Rules. Penguin Books, 2009, P.15.

© Robert and Marshia May  

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