Made for Paradise: God's Original Plan for Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and RestMade for Paradise: God's Original Plan for Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Rest
Dr. Patricia Hart Terry
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Many men and women walk around chronically fatigued with little energy. In Made for Paradise, Christian nutritionist Dr. Patricia Hart Terry takes a holistic approach to health and wellness that dates back to the beginning of creation. The account can be found in the book of Genesis. Focusing on the biblical principles of healthy eating, physical activity, and rest, Dr. Terry shows readers how to integrate them into their daily life. The book is divided into three major parts, one for each principle (eating, activity, rest), with suggestions for eating for pleasure, increasing stamina and flexibility, and how to relax. Paperback.

Back To Detail Page Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

A native Alabamian, I was raised in Birmingham, and attended The University of Alabama where I earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Nutrition and Dietetics. I completed a Dietetic Internship at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, Texas and am a registered and licensed dietitian. I attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary before serving in Venezuela for 12 years as a career missionary with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. While in Venezuela, two of my four children were born. I also completed a PhD in Nutrition while on the field by commuting to Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. Quite a commute! After teaching at The University of Alabama and Texas Christian University, I have been on faculty at Samford University in Birmingham for 15 years where I am the Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics. I have written a weekly column, In Season, for The Birmingham News for 13 years. My husband Bob and I are active members of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham. How did you become interested in writing?

I began my formal writing career 13 years ago when The Birmingham News asked me to write a weekly column about foods that are in season. After that, I have written in more newspapers, and also articles for academic journals. All my life, when I wanted to get my point across or understand it, I have had to write it down. I guess I am a visual learner and communicator! What compelled you to write a book on this subject?

Having lived in Venezuela I was used to the rainbow of produce that I found at the markets there. When I came home, I was disappointed with what I found at my supermarket. That was 16 years ago. Since then, I have discovered the organic farming community and local produce stands in my area. I became interested in sustainable agriculture. After visiting Cuba and seeing their national production of organic foods, I realized that organics was attainable in a large scale. During the writing of In Season for 14 years for The Birmingham News, I have learned a lot about the nutrients, phytochemicals of vegetables and fruits as the scientific evidence mounted of their nutritional value.

As I wrote the 10 articles for The Alabama Baptist, on Healthy Eating and presented the information along with Activity and Rest for several groups and seminars, I realized how much interest there was in the general public in healthy living from a Christian perspective. That made me think of how God made us and what was provided for us at creation to take care of the physical body He made. Where else to but back to Eden to find the examples of wholeness that we all are seeking? What is the main theme or point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book?

This book is intended to give Christians a pattern of wholeness for their lives that comes from the Creator Himself. There are several “Bible Diets” out there, but many of the suggestions are not realistic. Made for Paradise attempts to give practical applications for healthy eating, activity and rest that can restore common sense to everyday choices.

God created the world, both plants and animals and everything that breathes and has life in perfection. God said that it was all good, because He is good. Everything that Adam and Eve needed to live perfectly healthy lives was provided for them. As Christians, we need to look again at the provisions that God made for his creation. To rediscover the world that God meant as perfectly good for mankind might give Christians an insight for wellness and healthy living in our time. Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?

I hope readers will see that healthy living is just a part of life. Not some dreadful thing that they have to plan and schedule for or agonize over. It is making healthy choices everyday that add up to healthy living. Do you have a favorite part of the book or a favorite chapter?

I get really passionate about locally grown foods – especially organic! I get excited about local dairies, and farmers markets. I think the answer to many of our (modern ills) would be to eat locally again. What makes your book different than any other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?

My book is based on health principles found in the Bible that have been there for our good for thousands of years. Eating whole foods (not necessarily Bible foods or kosher foods) getting physical activity daily and rest are all tied to each other as a basis for health. You can’t talk about just one without the other two. And we have here a Biblical basis for doing it – that should motivate believers. How does the book intertwine with God’s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?

I always wanted to be a missionary - from as far back as I can remember. We had many missionaries visit my home church as a child and I caught a vision for foreign missions. As a college student, I spent two summers as a summer missionary. One of those was spent in Israel. There my missions call was confirmed and I saw how my major in nutrition and dietetics could be used directly on the mission field. That summer in Israel, I saw nutritional deficiencies among the Arab population that I had just read about in books.

Later, I was appointed the first nutritionist by the Foreign Mission Board. They had had many dietitians working in hospitals and clinics, but I worked in community nutrition through local churches. After coming back from Venezuela, The Lord brought the Hispanic community to Birmingham and I helped start a hispanic church as well as work in many hispanic health fairs and clinics. Teaching at Samford is a continuation of my ministry also. Through my classes and the community outreach that we do, I continue to teach nutrition and healthy living every day. For 14 years, I have written a weekly newspaper column for the Birmingham News on foods that are in season - that is also a ministry to the community related to healthy eating and living. God continues to bring ways to serve Him my way! Do you have a favorite Scripture verse? What is it and why is it important to you?

Philippians 1:21 For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. There is no other reason to be here. Are there any authors that either influenced you personally or influenced your style of writing? Who are they and how did they influence you?

Not really. I like to write as if I were talking to someone. I don’t know how to compare that with other writers. When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?

When I am not spoiling my five grandchildren, I love to read, cook and hike.