The Maker’s diet is a diet based on biblical dietary laws. It provides guidelines to help dieters to eat as they were created to eat. It encompasses aspects of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health.
The Maker’s diet is the result of a personal journey by its creator, Jordan Rubin. Rubin was a healthy, happy athletic young man who had an athletic scholarship to college. Everything seemed fine, but then in 1994, when he was 19, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a disease of the gastrointestinal system, and is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease . It affects about half a million people in the United States. There is no cure for this disease, although for most people it can be managed with prescription medications. This however, was not the case for Rubin.
Rubin reports that he had many symptoms of severe Crohn’s disease including abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, intestinal parasites, eye inflammation, arthritis, bladder infection, chronic fatigue, chronic depression, and many other debilitating problems. He could not find a treatment that helped him, and in a search for one he saw more than 70 doctors and other health professionals in seven countries. In all, he says that he tried more than 500 different treatments. The treatments he tried ranged from conventional medicine to natural remedies, but none of them worked for him.
According to Rubin, all that changed when his father tried one more person. Rubin refers to the person as an “eccentric nutritionist” because he was not a professional and had some very different ideas. What he told Rubin was that his problems all stemmed from not eating the way The Bible prescribes. Rubin began to look in The Bible for diet information, and combining what he found with what the eccentric nutritionist had told him, he started to change his diet. Rubin found that his symptoms began to clear up, and after a time, went away completely. Since this time he reports that his Crohn’s disease has been in complete remission. The diet that he followed forms the basis of the Maker’s diet.
Jordan Rubin earned a degree in Naturopathic Medicine from Peoples University of the Americas School of Natural Medicine, and a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the Academy of Natural Therapies, which is not accepted as qualification by the American Dietetic Association or other nutrition organizations. He is also a certified personal trainer and certified nutritional consultant. He has appeared on many different television programs and written several books including one titled The Makers Diet. He is also the founder and chief executive officer of Garden of Life, Inc. which he founded in 1998. The company produces supplements and other health products.
The Maker’s diet was created by Jordan Rubin to follow the dietary laws set down by The Bible. He believes that following these laws, and by eating the way people ate 100 or more years ago, is the way that man was meant to eat. He believes that because man was not meant to eat the way he eats today these incorrect eating habits are to blame for many of the diseases and conditions that are so prevalent in industrialized society today.
Dietary supplement —A product, such as a vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid, or enzyme, that is intended to be consumed in addition to an individual’s diet with the expectation that it will improve health.
Mineral —An inorganic substance found in the earth that is necessary in small quantities for the body to maintain a health. Examples: zinc, copper, iron.
Obese —More than 20% over the individual’s ideal weight for their height and age or having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.
Toxin —A general term for something that harms or poisons the body.
Vitamin —A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to remain healthy but that the body cannot manufacture for itself and must acquire through diet.
Rubin takes two of his main dietary laws from Leviticus, a book of The Bible. Leviticus (11:9-10) says to eat “whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters” but not to eat “all that have not fins and scales in the seas.” Rubin says that this means that fish with scales are intended to be eaten, such as salmon and trout, but smooth fish such as catfish and eels should not be eaten. It also means that crustaceans with hard shells such as lobster, crabs, and clams are not to be eaten. The other main dietary law taken from The Bible is also taken from Leviticus (11:3 and 11:7-8). Here The Bible says that man should eat “whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud”. Man should not eat “the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.” This means that most animals can be eaten, such as cows, goats, and sheep because all these animals chew their cud. The main four-footed animal that cannot be eaten is pig because he does not chew his cud. This means that all forms of pork are forbidden. The dietary laws that Rubin derives from these passages are generally the same as the Kosher laws followed by Jewish people.
In addition to the dietary laws taken directly from The Bible, Rubin believes in eating a variety of whole foods that are processed little or none. This generally means choosing foods like brown rice, which have not been processed much, over white rice, which is significantly processed. He believes that eating many processed foods that have additives and preservatives goes against the diet man was meant to eat. He also believes that organic foods and meat from animals that were raised eating grass instead of wild grain is more in line with the foods man was intended to eat. The diet plan has three phases that last a total of 40 days and a maintenance stage intended to help the dieter follow the guidelines for the rest of his or her life.
Phase 1 is intended to correct harmful imbalances in the body, and lasts from day 1 to day 14. This phase has the most limited diet because it is intended to detoxify the body. The foods eliminated during this phase include caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives. Dieters may find themselves feeling mildly ill during the beginning of this phase, with headaches and flu-like symptoms. Rubin says this is because the body is coming back into balance and ridding itself of harmful toxins.
Phase 2 lasts from day 15 through day 28 of the diet, and is intend to return the dieter to optimal health. During this phase some of the foods restricted during phase 1 are reintroduced. Rubin says that by this time the dieter should feel better, have begun to lose weight, and see other positive changes. Phase 3 of the diet lasts from day 29 through day 40 of the diet. This is intended to help the dieter “claim health for life.” During this phase more restricted foods are reintroduced into the diet. The foods allowed again during this phase include starchy foods such as bananas, potatoes, and bread.
After 40 days the three main phases of the diet end, and the dieter is supposed to be in optimal health and an increased state of wellness. The phase that occurs at this point is the maintenance phase of the diet, called “wellness for life.” This phase is intended to last throughout the lifetime of the dieter.
Rubin provides many different tools for dieters to use including meal plans, shopping lists, and recipes. He also recommends getting plenty or exercise, especially outdoors in the sunshine, and taking one day a week off from doing any work. Rubin also makes recommendations for good hygiene such as regular hand washing. In addition to helping dieters achieve improved physical health, Rubin also says that his plan will help dieters achieve better mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Much of this comes in the form of fellowship with other dieters, spiritual community, and regular prayer.
The first 40 days of this diet is intended to detoxify the body and provide weight loss and overall better physical health. It is also intended to improve the emotional and mental health of the dieter. Through its emphasis on prayer and Biblical understanding it is intended to provide better spiritual health. After the 40 days are over and the diet moves into its maintenance phase, the diet is intended to help the dieter maintain his or her improved physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health for a lifetime. Although Jordan Rubin reports that following this diet caused his Crohn’s disease to go into remission, it is not intended to treat or cure any disease or condition.
There are many benefits to following a diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and many whole grains. There is also significant benefit to losing weight and getting more exercise. People who get regular exercise are at a lower risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases than people who do not get any exercise. Weight loss itself can have many positive health benefits. Obesity is strongly associated with many diseases and conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. People who are extremely obese are at greater risk of these diseases and are likely to have more severe symptoms. Weight loss can reduce these risks and may even reduce the severity of symptoms experienced by people who have already have been affected.
Rubin reports that his diet will enable dieters to concentrate better, and will enhance their moods. He also says that it can reduce arthritis pain and inflammation, and can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. He also says that it can reverse the “accelerated aging” caused by the way people eat and live today.
Anyone thinking of beginning a new diet should consult a medical practitioner. Requirements of calories, fat, and nutrients can differ significantly from person to person, depending on gender, age, weight, and many other factors such as the presence of any diseases or conditions. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should be especially cautious because deficiencies of vitamins or minerals can have a significant negative impact on a baby. The Maker’s diet requires the addition of supplements to the diet. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should be especially careful when taking a supplement because too much of certain vitamins or minerals can also be harmful to babies.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR
- Is the supplement suggested by this diet right for me? Is there another supplement or multivitamin that would be appropriate for me if I were to begin this diet?
- Is this diet appropriate for my entire family?
- Is it safe for me to follow this diet over a long period of time?
- Is this diet the best diet to meet my goals?
- Are there any sign or symptoms that might indicate a problem while on this diet?
There are some risks with any diet. It is often difficult to get enough of some vitamins and minerals when eating a limited variety of foods. Usually taking a supplement or multi-vitamin can help reduce this risk. The Maker’s requires and recommends various supplements. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the same way as prescription medicines. Taking any supplement carries its own set of risks.
Any diet that follows the United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid guide recommendations is generally accepted as a healthy diet for most adults. In 2007 the Center for Disease Control recommended that healthy adults get at least 30 minutes per day of light to moderate exercise. Following this diet will probably meet many of these recommendations for most people.
There are many scientific studies showing that weight loss can have positive effects on many aspects of general health. There are also many studies showing the positive effects of regular exercise on cardiovascular and general health. There are no significant peer reviewed journal articles on the Maker’s Diet however. There is no significant scientific proof that the diet can relieve arthritis or inflammation. The diet also stresses organic foods, which it considers to be better and more healthful than non-organic foods. This is not necessarily always the case. The diet also emphasizes hand washing as an important part of hygiene. Regular hand washing is generally accepted to lower the chances of contracting and spreading disease.
There is also no scientific evidence to suggest that diet can detoxify the body.
There has been some concern about the supplements that are required or recommended for the Maker’s diet program. These supplements are made by Rubin’s company Garden of Life, Inc. In a letter dated May 11, 2004 the United States Food and Drug Administration ordered the company to stop making unsubstantiated claims about eight of its products and supplements. The claims were made in brochures, on labels, and in Rubin’s book Patient Heal Thyself.
Rubin, Jordan. Patient Heal Thyself. Topanga, CA: Freedom Press, 2003.
Rubin, Jordan. The Great Physician’s RX for Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007.
Rubin, Jordan. The Maker’s Diet. New York: Penguin, 2005.
Shannon, Joyce Brennfleck ed. Diet and Nutrition Source-book. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2006.
Willis, Alicia P. ed. Diet Therapy Research Trends. New York: Nova Science, 2007.
Maslin, Janet. “The Plot Is Simple: Sell Books” New York Times (3 March 2004): V153 I52800 E33.
American Dietetic Association. 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995. Telephone: (800) 877-1600. Website: <http://www.eatright.org>
The Maker’s Diet 2005. <http://www.makersdiet.com> (April 7, 2007).
Helen M. Davidson