‘ Diet is an ambiguous tool, too complex and emotionally charged to be prescribed lightly, yet too powerful to be ignored.’ Steven Bradman, MD
Food, essential for life, health and existence. Without food we die. Our life sustaining organs within, wait eagerly to be nourished daily with proper whole foods, exercise and care. It is entirely our decision what food we put into our bodies, and the life style we choose to sustain our health and well being.
A diet full of refined, chemical laden, fatty foods and preferring an environment of smoke and a pollutant atmosphere, will bring discomfort, poor health and an unbalanced system, unable to maintain and sustain regular order to survive daily.
When choosing a diet that will nourish and strengthen your body, you will not only feel better physically, you will also have an improved outlook on life. In turn, your immune system will become stronger, better equipped to combat germs and pollutants surrounding us, endeavouring to invade our existence daily. Careful consideration must be given in maintaining and strengthening our immune system daily, through eating a diet rich in fibre, clean filtered water, whole food, whole grains with fresh, preferably organic, fruits and vegetables.
The digestive system maintains order, in the breaking down of food ready for absorption within the human body. This process begins with the senses. The sight and smell of food initiates chemical reactions such as saliva and gastric juices, signalling the body to be prepared to digest an intake of food.
Through the action of chewing, messages are sent to the digestive tract to prepare enzyme secretions according to what is in the mouth. Digestive enzymes, workers within the process of digestion, are essential in the breaking down of the food we eat into usable nutrients. Nutrients found in food with levels according to their wholeness and essential requirement, are needed to sustain cell health and production, organ stability and balance, maintaining the whole workings of the human body.
Once food has been broken down, it will then move into the stomach. Here, large proteins will be broken down into smaller groups called amino acids. The stomach will produce a range of enzymes, collectively called proteases, to break down protein.
A healthy body will produce thousands of enzymes, each of which will have a specific purpose and function. Through the working of enzymes, protein consumed will be broken down into amino acids, complex carbohydrates into simple sugars and fat into fatty acids and glycerol.
The type of food we eat will affect the internal environment of our stomach, intestines and bowels. Common acid forming foods include coffee, sugar, citrus fruits and wine. These types of food will create conditions within the stomach that cause indigestion. Our bodies do need a certain amount of acid, but should there be an overload caused from an excess of acidic foods, digestive abnormalities will arise.
Foods such as meat will create a more acidic condition. This is due to the fact that in order to digest meat, the body is required to secrete stronger acids to aid digestion. A diet low in meat products, will aid in the avoidance of digestive stress and disease associated with such a high fat content food. Stress will also promote excessive acid, secreted into the digestive system. This accounts for the gnawing feeling felt in our stomach when we are tense.
As acids are absorbed, normal processes will cause the blood to become acidic, however if our blood is already in an acidic state, various health problems will arise. Problems and discomforts will include indigestion, headaches and cystitis. If acidity is allowed to persist, we will become vulnerable to rheumatoid arthritis, stomach ulcers and cancer.
Reducing the amounts of acid forming foods in our diet will aid in the reduction of acidity in our blood. Increasing the quantity of grains, vegetables and beans into our diets daily, will cause our blood to become more alkaline and therefore counter balance too much acidity. We should aim for 80% of our diet to be from alkaline food and 20% from acid forming foods.
Examples of high acid forming foods include: meat, eggs, fish and shellfish
Those of medium acid forming foods include: Herrings, mackerel, wheat, rice, plums, brazil nuts
Protein foods found primarily in meat and dairy products, will be digested in the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum, into which flow digestive enzymes, produced in the pancreas and liver. The pancreas is the primary organ of digestion. The enzymes it will produce for the breaking down of carbohydrates, fats and proteins are called amylase, lipase and proteases.
Every day approximately ten litres of digestive juices mostly produced by the pancreas, liver, stomach and intestinal wall, pour into the digestive tract. For the body to make enzymes it needs nutrients. If insufficient nutrients from our food is absorbed, digestion will not be working at its peak, and in turn will create a situation where poor absorption and nutritional intake, will progressively be on the decline.
Crash dieting, poor eating or stress will all lead to enzyme depletion due to deprivation of nutrients needed. A system low on nutrients will cause a lowering of energy once we have eaten, and a digestive disturbance producing feelings of hunger, which in turn trigger responses to overeat.
Without proper digestion, there can be no such thing as good nutrition. The effectiveness of our digestion determines our energy level, longevity and state of mind and body. A lack of nutrients and eating a high fat, low fibre diet, will result in faulty digestion, faulty absorption, abnormal gut reactions including bloating and inflammation, infections and poor elimination. The knock-on effects disrupt every body system: our immunity, the brain and nervous system, hormonal balance and the ability to detoxify.
During digestion the body breaks down the food we eat and transforms it into chemicals. These chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream for use by our cells. Consequently, the food we eat affects the conditions of our organs as our blood travels through them.
Examples of this can be taken from the liver. The liver performs the extremely important function of breaking down unwanted toxic wastes in the body. Should we continually choose to consume food and drink high in refined sugar, salt and fat, the liver will be put under constant strain in having to recycle more waste that it was designed to, function will not be maintained and result will be a toxin overload.
Excess toxins with fat soluble wastes, that should have been expelled from the body will now be taken by the blood and lymph, to be stored in cells. This will result in the build up of fat deposits which in excess, will result in obesity and an overloaded system, unable to sustain function and order to maintain health in body and mind.
Another essential organ directly effected by the food we eat is the heart. Blood that is rich in fats will increase the risk of hardened clogged arteries, resulting in strain on the heart, and possible coronary heart disease. To diminish the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, we should be eating a diet low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates, whole grains, whole foods and fibre, found in grains, vegetables and beans. In addition to this, there must be a reduced intake of alcohol, salt, refined foods and high sugar contents.
Saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are the three different types of fat, commonly known as lipids, All three are differentiated by their chemical makeup.
Saturated fats are primarily found in animal foods and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil. Due to their chemical structure, saturated fats remain solid at room temperature. Small amounts of saturated fat is needed for the livers production of cholesterol, as well as the structure of cell membranes. However, a diet that includes high amounts of saturated fat daily, has been found to cause heart disease.
Monounsaturated fats are considered healthier than polyunsaturated fats due to their ability to lower LDL (low density, lipoprotein) bad cholesterol, while maintaining or raising HDL (high density lipoprotein) good cholesterol. Canola oil and olive oil are naturally high in monounsaturated fats and can be included if monitored, in a balanced whole food diet.
Polyunsaturated fats contain both omega 6, omega 3, essential fatty acids. These fats cannot be made by our body and need to be taken from an intake within our diets.
Omega 6 aids healing, causing blood to clot and blood vessels to constrict. In contrast, omega 3 will inhibit harmful clotting, relax vascular smooth muscle and cause an antiarrhythmic effect, reducing the risk of heart disease. However, polyunsaturated fat should be taken in moderation. Large amounts consumed can reduce the high density lipoproteins, good cholesterol.
Omega 3 essential fatty acid including alpha linolenic and eicosapentaenoic acid, can be found in fresh deep water fish, fish oil, certain vegetable oils such as canola oil, flaxseed oil and walnut oil.
Omega 6 essential fatty acid which includes linoleum and gamma linolenic acids, are found primarily in raw nuts, seeds, legumes, unusual seed oils such as borage oil, evening primrose oil, blackcurrant oil and hemp oil.
In order to supply essential fatty acids, oils described above must be taken in pure liquid or supplement form, and must not be subjected to heat, either in processing or cooking. Heat destroys essential fatty acids and can even result in the creation of dangerous free radicals.
Both ALA and GLA oils taken in moderation described above, can be used to fight inflammation, pain, joint swelling and tenderness associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions that cause joint pain and discomfort.
A diet rich in meats, dairy products, cooking fats and oils will result in unfriendly fats being packed within our cell membranes instead of ALA. For example, saturated fats within a piece of chicken or hamburger, will easily overwhelm good fat within vegetables, crowding the ALA content out of the cells. Bad Fat will tie up the enzymes that normally use ALA, and in the process encourage inflammation.
‘ Whole foods not only fuel our bodies more efficiently but actually act as a tonic to balance the system. This healthful, balanced way of eating will improve health and even reverse symptoms of illness, just as poor eating habits can deteriorate the body and the mind’. ( Reference taken from ‘Women’s natural health’ by K. Brenner)
For fat to be digested preparation is needed within the digestive system. This is achieved by bile being produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bile contains lecithin, which helps to emulsify large fat particles, turning them into tiny particles with a greater surface area, for the fat breaking lipase enzymes to work on.
A diet high in saturated fats, such as meat, eggs and cheese will slow down the process of food passing through the digestive system. Foods high in fibre such as whole grains take approximately twelve to twenty four hours to pass through the intestines. Meat, has no fibre and will take an average of forty-eight hours. Thus proving that a diet high in animal fat can cause a clogging up of waste matter within the digestive system, causing toxic waste matter to build. High toxicity within the digestive system will cause digestive disorders, even promoting cancerous cells.
It must also be recognised that fat, either animal or from vegetable oil sources, will increase oestrogen levels and problems associated with this. Waste oestrogen’s are normally filtered from the bloodstream by the liver, which are then filtered through the bile duct into the intestinal tract. In the intestinal tract fibre will soak up the oestrogen’s and will be carried out with waste matter. By replacing chicken, skimmed milk and other fibreless foods with grains, vegetables, beans and other plant foods regularly within the diet, will ensure waste oestrogen’s are disposed of. Research has found that the lowering of oestrogen in the blood will aid towards the reduction of breast cancer. Less oestrogen means less stimulation for cancer cell growth.
For those who suffer during their menstrual cycle, it is advised to eliminate animal products and oily, fatty foods completely during this time, only consuming whole grains, such as brown rice, whole grain bread and oatmeal, vegetables, legumes, beans, peas and lentils, and fruits. Reduced menstrual cramps, easy weight loss and increased energy levels will be the embraced benefits experienced.
A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that contain at least one unpaired electron. Electrons are negatively charged particles that usually occur in pairs, forming a chemical stable arrangement.
If an electron is unpaired, another atom or molecule can easily bond with it, causing a chemical reaction. Because free radicals join so readily with other compounds, free radicals can effect dramatic changes in the body and can cause a great deal of damage. Each free radical may exist for only a tiny fraction of a second, but the damage left can cause variations of disease and sickness.
Good free radicals are normally present in small amounts within the body. Free radicals produced by the immune system will destroy viruses and bacteria. Other free radicals are involved in producing vital hormones and activating enzymes that are needed to sustain the workings of the human body. We need free radicals to produce energy and substances that the body requires, however, should excessive free radical formation occur, damage to cells and tissues may be excessive. The formation of a large number of free radicals will stimulate the formation of further still, corrupting organs and systems vital in maintaining order within the body. This will lead to poor health and a body in a diseased state.
The presence of a dangerous number of free radicals, can alter the way in which cells will code genetic material. Changes in protein structure can occur as a result of errors in protein synthesis. The body’s immune system, may then see this altered protein as a foreign substance and try to destroy it. The formation of mutated proteins can eventually damage the immune system, causing diseases such as leukaemia and cancer.
In addition to damaging genetic material, free radicals can destroy the protective cell membranes. The formation of free radicals can also lead to retention of fluid in the cells, involved in the aging process and an unbalance of calcium levels.
Many different factors can lead to the production of free radicals. Exposure to radiation, whether from the sun or from medical x-rays, activate the formation of free radicals, as does exposure to environmental pollutants such as tobacco, smoke and car exhaust fumes.
A diet that is high in fat will increase free radical activity. This is because oxidation occurs more readily in fat molecules, than in carbohydrate or protein molecules. Cooking fats at high temperatures, particularly frying foods in oil, will produce large numbers of free radicals.
Scientist estimate that each of the 60 trillion cells in the human body suffers 10,000 free radical ‘hits’ each day, and this is on the increase as a result of increasing chemicals within our environment.
Therefore careful consideration must be given daily to our choice of foods, whether we choose food to strengthen and aid our immune system, or get a quick fix on a takeaway, high in fat and refined empty ingredients, and low in nutrients.
Various fruits and vegetables have powerful antioxidant capabilities, that help to protect against damaging free radicals. Phytonutrients, which give vegetables their distinctive colours and flavours, aid in the reduction of oxidation damage, slowing the aging process.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by binding to their free electrons. By destroying free radicals, antioxidants help to detoxify and protect the body.
The most powerful members of the antioxidant family are the pycnogenols, also known as flavenoids. These power foods are twenty times more potent than Vitamin C and fifty times more active than Vitamin E. Pycnogenols protect against capillary damage, bruising and improve overall immunity to heart disease and cancer. Examples of best sources to be taken daily, are onions, green peppers, red wine and green tea.
The following details examples of antioxidants and their food sources, that should be included daily within a healthy diet:
Carotenoids / Vitamin A Carrots, squash, red peppers, apricots, sweet potatoes, celery, spinach, tomatoes, oranges.
Vitamin C Parsley, citrus fruits, kiwi fruits, red and green peppers, cabbage, leafy greens, green tea.
Vitamin E Nuts, seeds, nut oils, wheat germ, soy foods.
Selenium and Zinc Nuts, seeds, whole grains, nutritional yeast.
Other important free radical fighters found in the aforementioned foods include B complex, especially vitamins B1 and B6, sulphur compounds, quercetin, pangamic acid vitamin B15 and Coenzyme Q10.
Antioxidant foods should be taken daily, in at least 5 - 6 servings, considering mainly your fruit and vegetable power foods listed above. Eating fresh raw fruits and vegetables are more of a potent source of antioxidants than frozen.
Supplements may be taken daily, but must not be considered as an alternative to eating antioxidant fresh food sources. Supplements taken, cannot provide the protective factors found in fresh food, which work in synergy with recognised free radical white fighter cells.
Examples of power foods to be taken daily, that fight against sickness and disease, maintaining health and well ness are as follows:
Onions Onions help prevent thrombosis and lower high blood pressure. They also inhibit the growth of cancer cells due to their high flavenoids content, including quercetin, coumarin and ellagic acid. By including onions into your diet regularly, you will be protecting yourself from sickness and disease as well as bringing long term strength and support to the immune system.
Peppers All peppers are rich in vitamin C, E and carotenoids, which all aid in the protection against degeneration, and the damaging effects of toxic chemicals in the environment. Hot peppers are rich in alkaloid capsaicin, which is known to decrease pain, enhance digestion and even detoxify the body, protecting from flu and colds.
Nuts and Seeds Walnuts and almonds lower blood cholesterol levels. A single brazil nut will offer enough selenium to meet the recommended daily allowance. This important mineral has been found to enhance immunity, and protect the body against free radical damage.
Pumpkins seeds are rich in zinc, iron, phosphorus, fibre, potassium, magnesium as well as vitamin A. These powerful seeds aid immunity, growth, wound healing and help maintain the senses of taste and smell. Sunflower seeds are a natural source of vitamin E and linoleum acid. Due to the seeds beta - carotene content, sunflower seeds protect against cancer and the aging process, and also enhance the ability to deal with stress.
Bananas Bananas are rich sources of potassium, and are recognised as a relief from both constipation and diarrhoea. Eating a banana daily will reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease, lift spirits, heighten energy and lower high blood pressure.
Soy foods Regular consumption of soya products will protect against breast, colon and prostate cancer. This is due to the rich content of phto - hormones in the soya bean. When we eat foods rich in phyto - oestrogen’s such as soya, these weak plant hormones are taken up by the oestrogen receptor sites within our body, where they will help to protect the body from the uptake of dangerous cancer inducing xenoestrogens. By including soya products into your diet daily, benefits will include protection from cancer, menstrual symptoms, reproductive damage, degeneration, lower cholesterol levels, lower the risk of heart disease, protection from carcinogenic effects of the environment and aid in the prevention of decrease in bone mass, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Grains Grains include B - complex vitamins, fibre, trace elements, and provided they are freshly milled, essential fatty acids. Grains also contain plant based antioxidant compounds, which help protect the body’s DNA from free radical damage. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, buckwheat and millet. These foods are also rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant and protector of the immune system, and fibre to aid digestion, help control diabetes and fight obesity.
The balanced whole food diet
A balanced whole food diet, will include mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, including juices. We should also include whole grains, dried beans, legumes and soy foods regularly. Nuts, seeds and GLA and ALA rich oils with small amounts of extra virgin olive oil should be added. We should limit our intake of low fat dairy products, lastly including lean fish and poultry with less than 5% fat may be eaten as an option.
It would be recommended that organic produce would be a preferred choice, in order to avoid high chemical pesticide residue found on non organic foods. These chemicals unnatural contents, has been found to cause sickness and disease, by destroying cells and poisoning systems within the body.
If organic produce is not chosen, it is highly recommended to choose foods free from artificial colours, preservatives and additives. These artificial contents within our foods, will not benefit our health but again create sickness and disease.
High consumption of distilled clean water should be taken regularly. Averaging at least 6 - 8 glasses a day. This will aid in de toxing, cleansing the body of waste matter and avoidance of dehydration.
A vitamin and mineral supplement may be taken as an aid, but not a substitute in maintaining a balanced diet. A regular exercise plan suited to an individuals needs should be maintained, to include appropriate periods of rest and relaxation. An exercise plan should be sustained for approximately one hour four times a week, to include cardiovascular and muscular strength activities.
Should a vegetarian diet be considered in order to experience the health benefits of a meat free life, the following foods must be included, to maintain proper nutritional standard, and excellent amino acid profile:
Soy foods Fermented rice Low fat dairy products Carotenoids Clean filtered water Sea vegetable proteins Fruit and vegetables Herbs Complementary protein and grain mixtures Cautioned supplement of vitamin D (particularly in pregnancy) B complex and B12 GLA and ALA oils in moderation
Complementary protein mixtures
Complementary protein mixtures, includes the combining of two plant protein foods, that have opposite amino strengths and weaknesses in order to balance one another. This will create a complete protein.
Proteins are essential constituents of the body. Proteins form the structural material of muscles, tissues, organs, essentially the whole make up of the human body.
For example, beans and wheat if eaten at the same meal, will be twice as nutritious than if they were eaten alone. By combining sunflower seeds and peanuts, the amino acids combined together will produce a high quality, complete protein.
Complementary grains mixtures
Complementary grains include dried beans and wheat germ or dried beans with grains, nuts, seeds and wheat germ. Alternatively, nuts, seeds with dried beans and wheat germ. Although vegetable proteins, unlike meat proteins are incomplete (low in one or more of the nine essential amino acids), protein will be adequate, even if foods served at any one meal does not contain enough of all nine essential amino acids. The body will make up the shortage by simply making up the difference from its reserves. Calories and variety are the keys.
Should you decide to eat a vegetarian diet and include eggs and milk, to maximise nutrient uptake from grains, dried beans, nuts and seeds, it is advisable to add eggs or dairy products. Examples of this would be to try granola and kefir, with scramble eggs and sunflower seeds. In food combining it is recommended to use the complete protein grains amaranth and quinoa whenever possible.
Case studies (Names have been changed to protect identity)
Case study 1:
Suzy, a young, single lady, came to me to ask advice on what she should be eating. She explained that being a hairdresser she is constantly on her feet and does not have time to prepare food. Therefore the majority of her meals had come from a high fat portions of regular fast food meals. Her skin was pale and dimpled, she had noticed that she had put on 2 stone of weight this past year and felt tired and lethargic.
After hearing this, I collated an information pack advising Suzy on the benefits of antioxidant foods, drinking fresh distilled water, and a fun exercise plan, lasting approximately 45 minutes, four times a week. I carefully showed her what she should be eating daily, by following the foods in the balanced whole food diet explained above. Within two weeks, Suzy has lost 6lb in weight, her skin has started to clear, she is enjoying the regularity of eating whole foods and explained that she has a much better mental outlook. Although Suzy may grab the fast food in a rush, she has found that the after effects of bloating and mental drain, did not compare to the benefits should she had consumed food on her healthy lunchtime plan.
Suzy is changing and learning how to eat properly for life.
Case study 2:
Mandy, mother of two, came to me because she wanted to loose weight and have energy to look after her home and family. On reading Mandy’s weekly meal record, I observed the high amount of refined foods included. On advising Mandy on the effects of eating high sugar refined foods, I encouraged her to look at replacing such foods with whole meal, whole wheat, high fibre, unrefined foods. Since this change in diet, as well as including fresh organic fruits and vegetables, Mandy has lost a stone in weight within eight weeks, she has renewed energy and her family are also enjoying eating a whole food diet, and enjoying the benefits of energy, health and a clear mind.
Case study 3:
Steven, 35 year old gentleman, required advice and help in order to loose weight, and strengthen his immune system, to fight against regular colds and lethargy associated with this. I advised the whole food diet, encouraging the inclusion of grains, nuts, seeds, fresh organic fruits and vegetables to increase antioxidant intake, especially raw peppers, onions and carrots. I also encouraged Steven to increase his uptake of soy foods, as with my other case studies, in order to deplete high cholesterol levels and protect against disease. Stephen has lost 8lb in the last 6 weeks, he explained that he has more energy and has not experienced any sickness or colds, since including antioxidant raw foods within his diet. Steven, as well as my other case studies, all advise me that once a regular whole food diet is sustained, temptation for refined and high fat foods has ceased.
Case study 4:
Jane, mother of two, and fitness instructor, needed my help in maintaining a whole food diet with particular attention to energy, avoiding sickness and headaches, and sustaining clear thinking to manage her home, studying and family. Jane also said she needed nutritional help in avoiding menstrual pain, bloating and discomfort.
I advised Jane to sustain a whole food diet, with emphasis on drinking at least 6 - 8 glasses of filtered, clean water a day to avoid dehydration associated with headaches and her regular exercise schedule. Jane also started eating soy foods regularly, with chicken breast consumed only 2/3 times a week maximum, hemp seed oil and flaxseed oil in moderation, for essential fatty acids, with evening primrose oil for avoidance of bloating and discomfort, around her time of menstruation were also included.
Jane also started taking bee pollen and wolfberries for energy, weight control and antioxidant properties. Since maintaining this diet, Jane does not suffer from menstrual bloating and headaches, energy is enhanced and she has not suffered sickness and lethargy.
Case study 5:
James, a five year old boy was experiencing hyperactivity and sudden mood changes regularly. On looking at his diet, I noticed regular consumption of refined high sugar products. I advised his mother to gradually decrease this intake and replace it with fruit, clean filtered water and regular whole food meals. Within one month of this change, James has become calm and focused, his taste for fruit and whole foods, have increased to an extent that he makes preference to fruit rather than chocolate if given a choice. Through his mothers ability to encourage James in the benefits of good food, James has now taken an interest in what he eats and his choice in being healthy.
‘ The body changes according to what we eat. It will mould to salad, it will mould to junk foods - sugary foods, fatty foods - it will mould to white vinegar, or to natural apple cider vinegar. The bad news is that your body moulds to these things, and it does the best it can with the foods that you give it. The good news is that when you change to a proper, balanced way of eating, your whole body changes with it.’ (Reference taken from ‘Foods that heal’ by Dr. B.Jenson)
In conclusion, in maintaining a life of consuming a whole food diet, rather than refined empty foods, and sustaining regular exercise, we can only expect to enjoy health, well ness and clarity in thought and action throughout our whole lives.
Our bodies want to be strong. Inwardly, the desire for health and well ness, exists continually within the whole workings of our human existence.
A body fed on unnatural refined fuel, excessive fat, high sugar, a pollutant atmosphere and not exercised regularly will suffer and eventually die.
We must choose the food required to maintain the proper functioning of the human body. A whole food diet will provide such food and maintenance within. No one wants to live in a body that is suffering daily, due to malnourishment and undisciplined care.
In sustaining the whole food diet, by consuming daily the life giving foods explained in this paper, health, vitality and well ness in body and mind will be yours, as well as the strengthening of an immune system, prepared to fight off bacteria and germs, that continually intend to rob us of our health and vitality.
Resource information taken from:
Healthy digestion the natural way D. Linsey Berkson
Cook Energy Leslie Kenton
You are what you eat Dr G.McKeith
Permanent Remissions R.Haas, MS
Power Foods A.Grant
Foods that heal Dr.B.Jenson
Prescription for nutritional healing J.F.Balch MD
Other information taken from SNHS notes and internet resources.