If you ask George Malkmus, a North Carolina minister, why Christians become ill, he will tell you they have neglected eating an apple a day.

Malkmus, whose book Why Christians Get Sick (Destiny Image) has sold more than 200,000 copies, is also the creator of the Hallelujah Diet, a low-fat vegetarian plan based on Genesis 1:29: "I give you all plants that bear seed everywhere on earth … they shall be yours for food."

More than a century after Seventh-day Adventists linked diet and doctrine and 30 years after the hippie generation discovered organic foods, evangelical Christians are flocking toward the Hallelujah Diet as a healthier way of life.

Malkmus was a Baptist pastor in New York when he developed colon cancer in 1976. Having watched his mother die of colon cancer after repeated rounds of chemotherapy, Malkmus resigned from his church and sought the advice of Texan health evangelist Lester Roloff.

After a year of following Roloff's diet advice, including drinking two quarts of fresh carrot juice each day, Malkmus asserts that his tumor disappeared—along with his allergies, hemorrhoids, and dandruff.

Doctors say the Hallelujah Diet, like other low-fat, high-fiber programs, may be good preventive medicine, but that it does not kill cancer cells.

Malkmus says not all Christians have been receptive to his newfound recipe for health. That may be due to Malkmus's other radical convictions, such as the idea that all pharmaceutical drugs—and vitamins—are toxic and his claim that childhood vaccinations are unsafe.

Still, Malkmus's diet has joined the ranks of Christian health plans selling off the shelves. Hallelujah Acres em ploys 25 people to staff phones and ship his books, tapes, videos, and jars of barley green around the world.

Recent Christian diets have tapped an untouched health industry niche with the success of Gwen Shamblin's Weigh Down books, and the adoption in churches nationwide of a plan called Prism.

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