Nutrition and Detoxification
What to Eat
How many books have been written on nutrition? Countless books and countless ideas about what is and isn’t good for us abound. What will be shared with you here has stood the test of time and benefitted many thousands of people. Definitely there are certain variations of diet and nutrition that are appropriate for different people. At the same time there are certain basic requirements for all human beings that need to be met if we are to be well nourished and have good health.
With very rare exceptions everyone benefits from having vegetables as the primary core of their diet. Most fruits and vegetables are beneficial for most people. Most people will benefit from additional carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, although a few people may need to shy away from some or all of these. Everyone needs the essential fats that our bodies use to create our cell membranes and regulate other essential functions. And finally everyone needs protein that includes sufficient amounts of the essential amino acid building blocks.
In the past there has been confusion and misunderstanding about protein. Many people do not realize is that sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) exist in vegetables. While some people may be well nourished by choosing to consume fish and fowl for their primary protein source, others are better served by being “vegetarian”, “vegan”, or “plantarian”. Since the 1950’s the science has been clear that vegetables contain more than the necessary amounts of all the essential amino acids and give us “complete” protein to fully nourish us as human beings. Different people have individual needs and a person needs to choose what best suits them.
What to Avoid
Fundamentally everyone needs real food. If you eat real food you will support real health. This is not rocket science. What do we mean by real food? We mean unprocessed food as it comes to us from nature. Almost all unprocessed food is nutrient rich and calorie poor. Conversely most foods that are processed are calorie rich and nutrient poor. It has been repeatedly shown that these processed calorie rich foods are destructive to our health. Again, “Real” foods are nutrient rich. “Unreal” or processed foods are calorie rich.
In addition to eating nutrient rich foods, we can also receive additional support by including high quality nutritional supplements that increase the nutrient wealth we receive. We live in a world of increased toxicity. Appropriate nutrient supplementation has been found to be especially beneficial for supporting our good health and dealing with these toxins.
While avoiding processed food, it is good to be aware that the most consumed process food is sugar. We’re not talking about the sugar that occurs naturally in a carrot or an apple but the sugar that is removed from foods, concentrated, and then added into soda’s, packaged foods, other processed foods, or is in our sugar bowl. How bad is sugar? Think about this: simply by adding a radioactive tag to sugar the medical profession is able to scan and measure the size of cancerous tumors in the body (this is called a PET scan). We have known since the 1930’s that cancer cells live primarily on sugar and not primarily on oxygen as our other cells do. Perhaps some day soon people will wake up and avoid all processed sugar.
Many or all of the nutrients needed to metabolize sugar have been taken away when sugar is isolated and removed from whole foods. When we consume this sugar (added from the sugar bowl or in processed foods) we do not receive the nutrients needed to metabolize it ( they have been taken away). This results in the depletion of these nutrients which our bodies need to function properly. These nutrients are necessary for the healthy function of many parts of our metabolism and not just for metabolizing sugar. So consuming processed sugar may result in weakened health overall and greater craving for sweets.
Why more craving for sweets? Because in nature, the whole, unprocessed sweeter foods would have contained these depleted nutrients, so our bodies think that by consuming something sweet we will get these nutrients. But if we eat sugar and other processed foods we don’t get the nutrients that were processed out. Our bodies, however, expecting to get these nutrients in a naturally sweet food continue to crave something sweet. For some people this craving can become very strong. Studies have shown processed sugar to be more addictive than cocaine.
Caffeine is another substance that can challenge our good health. While a person may feel good for a short time after consuming it, the long term effect is different. Some people get a headache or feel bad when they stop coffee and caffeine. This is because they are “detoxifying”. Think about it. If you have to “detoxify” from something then by definition it must have been toxic for you.
Caffeine is generally recognized to be a stimulant. It is not a food but a stimulant. It doesn’t feed us but it does stimulate our system. Here is an example of what that means for our daily energy: If you squeeze a sponge tightly (stimulate it) a burst of water comes out, but the sponge is then left depleted of water. Then the only way you can get any water out is to again squeeze the sponge tightly. A small or gentle squeeze will do nothing. The only way to re-saturate the sponge again is to pour more water into the it while you STOP giving it tight squeezes. If you continue giving the sponge tight squeezes the sponge will stay depleted not matter how much water you pour onto it.
In the same way, as long as we keep stimulating (squeezing energy out of) our systems with caffeine we will continue to be depleted of our full and vibrant energy and we will need more caffeine just to do what we would normally have done without it. To rebuild from such a depletion it should be obvious that the depleting agent, caffeine, needs to be avoided completely. Then, with good nutrition our bodies can rebuild and we can have full and strong energy again.
It has also been reported that coffee, even decaffeinated, tends to put an extra load on the liver due to some of the oils and resins that are in it. Perhaps it is for this reason that we have seen so many people do better when they stop coffee in all forms, including decaffeinated.
Finally, there is a significant question regarding the consumption of mammal meat (red meat). It has been reported that mammal meats putrefy (spoil or rot) in the human intestinal tract. It is thought that this is because of the way the proteins and fats are linked in mammal meat. We do see that the intestinal tracts of animals that are true carnivores are short. This allows them to get quick nutrition from mammal meat and then expel it before it putrefies. Our human intestinal tract is over 20 feet long so we do not have this luxury. With so many years of experience I found that while some people may do well “short term” eating mammal meats, long term it takes a toll on their systems. Over time putrefaction creates a toxicity that has negative effects on our health and can contribute to chronic or autoimmune health challenges. For this reason mammal meats (including grass fed) are not recommended.
What has been explained here are some foundational guidelines. In addition to these guidelines any person may be sensitive to individual foods that might not serve them well. Pay attention to your individual needs and sensitivities, but be aware that in addition to any individualized needs you may have, your total health will be best met and sustained if it rests upon a strong and healthy nutritional foundation.
Below are two outlines of healthy ways to eat that have helped innumerable people. Please be aware that they do not take into consideration individual issues that some people need to consider such as candida, gluten, food allergies, etc.. For example, if a person is gluten sensitive they need to avoid wheat, barley, rye and oats (unless the oats are prepared in a gluten free facility.) I would always have gluten sensitive people be especially careful to avoid red meat and dairy. As explained above these putrefy in the human intestinal tract and over time, by creating this putrid environment, the intestines become even more sensitive and reactive. Sometimes a person might feel better short term and think the red meat or dairy is good for them, but the long term effects, years down the line, can be very damaging and destructive.
So again, here are two outlines that give a foundational way of eating that will foster and increase good health for both the short term and the long term of a person’s life. One “plant based” outline is for those who are vegetarian, plantarian or vegan, and the other outline is for those who also consume flesh foods such as chicken and fish.
Acid and Alkaline Balance
You may have heard people talk about acid and alkaline balance in our bodies as a factor for good health. It is in fact one of the primary needs of our bodies to keep this balance within healthy limits. If we were to become either too acid or too alkaline we would die. The measure of acidity and alkalinity is called pH and is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. It describes the degree of acidity or alkalinity, with acid being a lower pH and alkaline being a higher pH. In the area of acid and alkaline balance, the pH of our blood is one of the predominant markers in our bodies. The other predominant pH marker is the acid or alkaline reserve in the rest of our body.
Maintaining proper pH balance allows us to experience good health, energy and vitality. Being overly acidic encourages overgrowth of microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, fungus etc.) whose waste products create even more acidity. This can be a self-destructive cycle.
Hemoglobin is the substance in our blood that transports vital oxygen. When blood is slightly more alkaline (but still in the normal range), hemoglobin is able to allow more oxygen molecules to attach to it so that even slightly more alkaline blood is able to carry significantly more oxygen to the cells of our body. Healthy human blood pH stays in a very narrow alkaline range between 7.35 and 7.45. Below or above this range fosters symptoms and disease. Death can be associated with blood pH imbalances above 7.80 and below 7.0.
For this reason our bodies need built-in mechanisms for maintaining the acid-alkaline balance of our blood, especially since many foods in the Standard American Diet (SAD) push our bodies towards acidity. Two key mechanisms our bodies use to protect us from acidity and keep our blood in the required alkaline range are the following:
- If our blood is tending too far toward acidity, then our body may remove acids from the blood. If our body needs to remove acid from the blood then these acids end up deposited in places like fat cells (creating more fat in our body), connective tissue (affecting joints, ligaments, skin, etc.) and organs (kidneys, liver, spleen, lungs, etc.). This diminishes the health of these tissues and organs. It can aggravate inflammation, allergic reactions and immune system problems and lead to acute and chronic difficulties.
- If our blood is tending too far towards acidity our body may respond by “stealing” alkaline minerals (mainly calcium from our bones) and bringing them as alkalizing agents into our blood. The result of this bone mineral depletion can be osteopenia (bone loss) and osteoporosis (more extreme bone loss).
For healing to occur we need to have an alkaline reserve in our body. This not only prevents the build up of acids in our body and the depletion of our bones, but once achieved allows better oxygenation of our cells, clearing of acids from our tissues and nourishing and strengthening of our tissues and bones.
For this reason we are benefitted when we live in a manner that avoids the depositing of acids into our body tissues and the weakening of our bones. We need to eat and drink in a way that creates an alkaline reserve in our systems. This allows us to avoid creating the acid build-up in our tissues and to prevent bone loss due to our bones being depleted of calcium.
Sugar, meat, fish, fried foods, coffee, tea, dairy products, most fats and most processed grains are acid-forming foods that are commonly consumed.
Vegetables and some fruits are alkaline-forming.
Food that has been grown in poor soil or under bad conditions is often deficient in nutrients, including the alkalizing minerals needed for alkalinity. This is just one of the reasons why organically grown foods are considered better for us. While it is also true that good health does require a few acid-forming activities and foods, most problems are created because many common life activities and eating habits tend to create over-acidity, and as we have explained this is a forerunner of chronic illness and aging in our bodies.
In addition to what you eat, the way you eat and live can also lead your body to be more acid or alkaline. Here are a few additional points to help you to maintain your alkaline reserve:
• Chew your food well (digestion, aided by saliva, begins in the mouth)
• Eat plenty of food raw
• Avoid over cooking food
• Exercise regularly to your personal capacity (Check with a health care professional to be sure your exercise is safe for you.)
• Be at ease (fear, anger and negativity create acidity)
• Get a good nights sleep every night
• Laugh frequently
• Have some fun every day
• Brighten someone else’s day as often as you can
Finally, below is a chart for you of the most common acid and alkaline forming foods. You might want to print it and put it on the door of your refrigerator to help you become familiar with it and to learn the information it contains.
Chew your food well.
Notice when you are full.
When you are full, stop eating.
It is generally recognized that bathing frequently is essential to good hygiene. No reasonable person will tell you that if you bathe once or twice a year it will keep you clean and healthy. The same is true for the inside of our bodies. All of our cells constantly excrete waste and this has to be eliminated. Why would anyone think to only detoxify once or twice a year, or less? Just as we bathe and detoxify the outside of our bodies daily, or at least frequently, so we need to clear and detoxify the inside of our bodies regularly.
The simplest way to achieve this is first to eat and live in ways that do not build up so many toxins. Clearly we must also avoid eating toxic junk food and avoid exposing ourselves to toxic substances and environments as much as possible. Secondly we should eat and live in a way that regularly “bathes” and detoxifies the inside of our bodies. This turns out to be simpler than you might have thought.
Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and whole grains that contains plenty of fiber. The whole foods (remember that’s “real” foods) will give your body the nutrients and fiber it needs to do its work of removing toxins from your system and eliminating them. In our modern world we are exposed to massively more toxins than ever before. The amount of nutrition a person can get from eating a reasonable amount of food is now considered insufficient to deal with all these increased toxins. For this reason it is recognized by many that to have optimal health it is beneficial to use nutritional supplements to get more of these nutrients and fiber than we can get just from our food.
** Before beginning any new nutritional program, including everything mentioned here, you should first check with your primary health care provider to be sure it will be safe and beneficial for you.
* Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional health care or to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please see your health care professional if you need help with any disease or symptoms.