In the last hundred years we have embarked on an experiment with food. We have refined, invented, and adulterated foods at an alarming rate. We have made food a corporate endeavor--one where companies seek to create "foods" from the cheapest materials and with the longest shelf-life. We developed the now ubiquitous trans fat (banned in several European countries and now in New York City), began refining our grains, created new vegetable oils (most notably canola oil--bred from the toxic rapeseed), and learned to create cheap sweeteners such as corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners like aspartame--all in the past hundred years.
We’ve been busy, to say the least! In this same hundred years we’ve seen huge advances in public sanitation—such as developing a clean water supply—and great progress in our understanding of disease and medicine. As a result we have seen a dramatic reduction in infectious disease. At the same time, however, we have traded one illness for another. We have traded infectious disease for degenerative disease.
Degenerative diseases currently plague our society—cancer and heart disease are the two greatest killers in this country (after the practice of western medicine, which is the number one killer in this country…read more…) Other degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis are so abundant that they are expected in old age!
There are societies that avoid the ravages of degenerative disease, and we can learn from them. The Okinowans, the Hunza, the residents of the country of Georgia (on the Black Sea), and the Seventh Day Adventists in Southern California are all peoples for whom it is the norm to age healthfully in the absence of degenerative disease. These cultures have several similarities—a strong sense of community, healthful, optimistic outlooks on life, rewarding work that does not end at age 64, and lastly, they consume foods in there natural states—whole foods.
Whole foods. That simple phrase is the essence of nutrition 101. When we consume whole foods we consume foods that are in accord with our genetic evolution, with natural order, and with the essence of health. Whole foods contain both the macro and micro nutrients that we need to survive. They contain life force—that essential, unnamed ingredient upon which all life depends.
When food is merely a comfort it robs us of our vitality. If vigor, health, and vitality are our desire, then it is necessary to spend time disciplining our minds—relearning the foods that are within our natural pharmacopoeia. This website contains a plethora of dietary guidelines for various health concerns, as well as a page dedicated to the healing benefits of specific foods. All of these recommendations utilize whole foods.
Here are some nutritive guidelines for you to begin your journey to perfect health:
- Eat several serving of vegetables every day—be sure to get a variety of colors, as different nutrients are responsible for different colors.
- Eat fruits daily. Try a variety of fruits, but be sure to frequently use those that are in season and fresh from local farms or your own yard.
- Eat your grains whole, and vary them. Spelt is a good stand-in for wheat, barley, rye, buckwheat, quinoa, and couscous are great for variety.
- Go Nuts. Eat nuts and seeds raw or as butters. Almond butter is an excellent substitute for peanut butter (the peanut is not a nut, and most peanut products are contaminated with aflatoxin—a known carcinogen). Tahini (sesame butter) is excellent in many Middle Eastern dishes or as a dip for apples.
- Use spices and herbs in your cooking. Cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, sage, rosemary—all of these herbs and many more are packed with healing benefits. They are packed with Antioxidants
- If you use dairy products, consume them in their natural state. Use dairy products from grass-fed, organically raised cows or goats.
- If you eat meat and/or eggs, be sure it is grass-fed and organic. Click here for more information on why.
- Be sure you are getting “good fats”. These include:
- Monounsaturated fats: olive oil, nuts, avocado
- Omega-3 fats: fish, fish oil, walnuts, flax, and flaxseed oil (read the omega-3 article for more on omega-3’s and why to avoid vegetable oils)
- Medium chain saturated fats: organic coconut oil
- Eat fermented foods on a regular basis—these foods provide us with beneficial bacteria with amazing health benefits. These foods improve digestion, assimilation and elimination, improve our immune systems, and protect us from autoimmune diseases. Examples include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh.
Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine is credited with the phrase, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.” In the modern west this axiom has been lost—now we consider food a pleasure, and medicine a required expense. By following the guidelines above, and by reading the information on this website, you will be provided the tools you need to create optimum health.