What is a
healthy diet, and what is
its role in therapy?
Let's investigate first a typical unhealthy diet like that of sailors who discovered America. Long sea voyages lacking fresh food, led in the past to a
vitamin C deficiency and a deadly scurvy. The discovery of vitamins and essential minerals, revealed
that they are an important
ingredient of a healthy
For the last 8000 years or so we were an agricultural society, and until recently agricultural products were our main source of food. We might therefore regard it as a balanced diet. Most societies did not travel, and generally lived close to the sea, from which they got essential minerals like iodine, and magnesium. Voyagers like sailors had to satisfy themselves with an unbalanced diet lacking some essential ingredients.
Digestion is a process
whereby ingested food is converted into material suitable for uptake by the body. Our food is generally polymerized,
and in order to be taken up it has to be split up into single molecules, know as de-polymerization,
which requires time, and may take several hours.
Industrialization introduced a new kind of food. Either it is purified, like white sugar, or synthesized, like vitamin-C. It is easier to digest than farm products, and gets into the body faster. However our body is unqualified for a rapid food digestion, which is evident from the glucose tolerance test, applied to evaluate the response of the body to glucose ingestion.
WOB maintains an optimal blood glucose level, and controls it tightly. After drinking a large amount of sweetened water, glucose enters swiftly into the vascular system and its blood level rises rapidly which endangers the organism. WOB swiftly removes glucose from the blood until it regains its optimal level. Most of the sugar is polymerized into glycogen, and if sugar intake is too excessive, it is excreted also into the urine. Glucose excess is dangerous, like in diabetes mellitus , where it induces glucose toxicity.
An impaired glucose tolerance, like in diabetes mellitus, shows that WOB does not react swiftly enough, and blood glucose level rises . On the other the hand if one eats bread, (polymerized sugar) digestion takes longer, and blood glucose level barely rises.
You may experience it yourself when drinking a glass of vodka. Like glucose, alcohol enters swiftly into the blood and its level rises. If you feel dizzy, WOB signals your mind that alcohol blood level is too high and endangers your brain. On the other hand, if you drink the vodka after a heavy meal, you will feel less dizzy, since it is taken up slowly and its blood level barely rises.
In the past salt was rare and expensive, and hardly anybody could afford it. Food contained little salt. Like glucose, salt is digested fast and its blood concentration rises above its optimal level, which endangers processes in the body. Not only salt, but all ingested minerals, e.g., calcium and sodium, are tightly controlled. Any deviation from optimal level is harmful
Iodine deficiency is the single most common cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage in the world. Globally, 2.2 billion people (38% of the world's population) live in areas with iodine deficiency. Obviously iodine ought to be added to their diet, and in some areas it is mixed with salt. Like glucose iodine is taken up swiftly, and should therefore be given in different form. It might be mixed with oil, however Nature has the best answer, sea-weeds. Our blood contains many minerals and trace elements that exist in the ocean and are absorbed directly by sea-weeds, and so is iodine. Their concentration in sea-weeds is similar to that in our body. Sea-weeds are not tasty, yet ought to be taken seriously as a natural food supplement.
Also fruit and vegetables maintain an optimal concentration of sugar, vitamins, and minerals, and when ingested, their blood level will be optimal
Each element has an optimal blood concentration level which is controlled by WOB. Any excess or deficiently may be harmful. A balanced diet ought to consist of slowly digestible food, with a low (optimal) concentration of minerals and other supplements.
Mega-doses of vitamins and minerals ought to be avoided since WOB is incapable of handling such excessive quantities. Their high blood level is harmful
Microbes are everywhere, and inhabit our skin and intestine, where they are called gut flora. The newborn baby receives its microbial flora at birth from its mother. As we grow up our personal microbial community evolves, and ultimately attains homeostasis. One might regard it as an eco-system, or better, an organism with its own WOB, a Gut-WOB
After attaining homeostasis Gut-WOB maintains itself and resists any change. The gut wall is a dynamic barrier, which curbs bacteria with special antibiotics, called defensins. A specialized sense organ in the gut samples gut bacteria, and learns to recognize them (immunity).
Here are some of the medically
important functions of gut
- Digests food stuffs which the gut fails to digests, like cellulose.
- Produces vitamins.
- Enriches mineral content of food.
- Detoxifies and binds some poisons. It may even bind radioactive molecules, e.g. cesium
- Resists foreign bacteria, including pathogens, and antibiotic resistant strains.
Since Gut-WOB joins you in your meals, and contributes to your health you ought to take care of its needs . Gut-WOB prefers raw or partially cooked food. It favors carbohydrates, and less proteins (meat). Cooking destroys some ingredients which Gut-WOB needs. Many alternative healers specialize in such diets.
Discovered the benefits of wheat grass and the so called 'living food', a diet of raw sprouts, raw fermented fruits and vegetables. Her signature drink is called rejuvelac. It is made from sprouted wheat grass seeds fermented in water. Rejuvelac is said to replenish healthy intestinal flora; and is vital to proper digestion. Ann Wigmore believed that deficiency and toxemia are the causes of all disease, and that diet serves to cleanse the body and it will heal itself. This outlook is opposed here, since it perpetuates the false notion that our body is helpless and full of toxins (corrupt,), while the opposite is true.
'Macro' is the Greek word for 'great' and 'BIOS' means life. Macrobiotic diet enables one to live in harmony with nature, which is interpreted here as a life in harmony with Gut-WOB. The modern practice of macrobiotics was started in the 1920s by a Japanese educator named George Ohsawa.
The Seven Essential Components are found in these Food Categories:
Carbohydrates - whole grains, beans, vegetables, seeds, fruits;
Proteins - beans, bean products, fish, seeds, nuts, meat, eggs, dairy;
Fats and oils - cooking oils, nut butters, nuts, seeds, butter, animal foods;
Minerals - salts, sea vegetables, vegetables, fish, meat;
Vitamins - vegetables, fruits, sea vegetables;
Enzymes - fermented foods, raw vegetables and fruits;
Water - spring water, vegetables, fruits;
Yogurt and Kefir
The Russian biologist Elie Metchnikoff,, who formulated the basic theory on which immunology is founded discovered also the benefit of yogurt to our health. He was impressed by the longevity of Bulgarian people who are known for their high consumption of cultured foods, and concluded that yogurt may prolong our life. Metchnikoff devoted the last decade of his life to the study of lactic acid-producing bacteria as a means of increasing human longevity. He named the primary yogurt-culturing bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus, in honor of the Bulgarians.
Kefir is a cultured-milk
beverage, which is believed to have originated in the northern Caucasus
mountains, many centuries ago. Kefir and other similar beverages are
known as probiotics (Pro = for, BIOS = life) = "Life-promoting"
as opposed to Antibiotic "Against-life". Probiotics are believed to stabilize the gut flora. A healthy
Gut-WOB does not benefit
from probiotics. It dislikes foreigners, and will not incorporate them into its eco-system . However, following
an antibiotic treatment,
which disrupts Gut-WOB,
probiotics may hasten the restoration of a new gut flora.
Natural food contains also the soil in which it grows, which is generally regarded as unhealthy. Yet soil harbors some Gut-WOB relatives, which may contribute to our health.. Actually Soil-WOB nurtures agriculture. It consists of pathogenic bacteria, and harmless organisms that grow on dead organic matter, called saprophytes. Some saprophytes are related to pathogenic bacteria, like tuberculosis bacillus (M. tuberculosis), with which they have many antigens in common. This may benefit several agricultural societies in the third world, which seem to be immune to tuberculosis. Their immunity is attributed to saprophytes which they ingest in their soiled food.
Although ingestion of soiled
food is risky, it is
an important experience
which reveals new
opportunities to resist
pathogens. It may also
avert allergy. It seems that urban children living in strict hygienic conditions tend to be more allergic
than rural children. Recently parents have been advised to make frequent
visits to the countryside, let their kids embrace cattle, and even kiss it.
Industrialization poses a new threat to our health, like chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, and gene manipulated food. We rush to protect ourselves with organic food which may not be so wise. Since industrialization cannot be reversed, we might as well train our WOB to live with these poisons in harmony. Chemical and gene manipulated food is an experience which should not be avoided.
Vitamins are organic molecules in our food, needed by our body in trace amounts for metabolic processes. When missing, the organism is ill. Officially there are about 13 vitamins. In reality there are many more. Most vitamins are unknown. In order to be labeled as a vitamin, the deficiency of an essential (organic) molecule has to cause a well defined disease, like Scorbut, in vitamin C deficiency, or Beri-Beri in vitamin B1 (thiamin) deficiency. However there are many deficiencies of essential molecules that cause non specific symptoms, like weakness, and malaise, and will not be labeled as vitamins.
Suppose that you discovered a trace organic molecule which cures weakness, it would hardly be taken seriously since correcting a non specific symptom. At best it would be called a factor, or food additive. We ought to realize that our body requires many essential organic molecules, and only a few are called vitamins. Yet medicine spreads the false notion that a multivitamin pill covers all our needs for essential organic molecules.
One gets the impression
that a vitamin C pill carries all the benefits of a lemon. In reality
a lemon contains many essential
molecules, which are ignored. The term vitamin is a misnomer
since it does not include many essential organic molecules. A healthy
diet ought to include fresh and raw fruit and vegetables. Some essential
molecules are in meat and fish, which ought to be consumed as well.
Such a balanced diet covers all our needs for essential molecules
so that pills are unnecessary.
Diet and allergy
Diet might benefit autoimmune disease, e.g., Systemic lupus and arthritis. There is no diet that can cure rheumatoid arthritis, but many people have had their symptoms relieved by dietary changes. Many of these special diets originated from the observation that rheumatoid arthritis is not found in agricultural societies that eat a more primitive diet (soil?).
Celiac disease illustrates the importance of a proper diet. This hereditary disorder is caused by sensitivity to gluten, and requires therefore a gluten free diet. Despite its effectiveness one wonders whether it might be possible to relieve the patient from his sensitivity, at let him enjoy any food. Medicine finds it unlikely and is satisfied with the diet. Why should we comply with its verdict? Why not advise the celiac patient to explore new ways to be rid of his sensitivity and become a Celiac-Yogi ?