Part One: INTRODUCTION
Are you one of the millions of people battling to find an eating plan that works? Do you want more energy? Are you frequently falling ill, or generally just not feeling your best, despite supposed healthy eating? Have you been diagnosed with a lifestyle-related disease and want an alternative to toxic prescribed pharmaceuticals? Then I believe I may have a solution for you. It isn’t difficult, or out of reach. Nor does it require embarking on another pointless “diet”, another trendy health regimen, or a drastic surgery procedure.
It’s about getting back to basics, about remembering the things our grandmothers and teachers taught us; eating the way Nature intended. It’s the most intuitive method of looking after the body, and it’s not boring or tedious! It’s also about taking a step back, looking at the big picture, and identifying the hidden dangers in so many of the modern-day foods that are taking a toll on the health of the global population.
Over the last 50 years, we have veered off path when it comes to good nutrition. The ever-expanding reach of corporate fast-food chains, pressures to feed a rapidly growing population, high-paced, demanding lifestyles, and the global recession, to name but a few – have all served to force people into eating whatever fast, cheap food is available. We have never seen such a surge of lifestyle-related health issues as we have today. Over the past three generations, it has become pretty acceptable that someone we know may have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, or even cancer. It is also pretty fair to say that we all know quite a few people who are overweight, obese, or generally struggling with their weight in some way. And we most certainly know of people who struggle with overeating, a food addiction, or comfort eating in some form. For a lot of us, that person is ourselves, and it can be a vicious cycle.
We were all born with the instinct to eat the foods our bodies require for optimum nutrition, but we mostly ignore these impulses, eating instead for reasons that have little to do with hunger. It doesn’t help that supermarkets are flooded with clever marketing from large corporate chains that are in business to profit, having little or no concern for the health of the consumer. Brands are created to make money, and clever advertising, vague labeling and trendy buzzwords such as “All Natural”, “Nature Fresh”, etc, lull the consumer into thinking the product is something it is not.
In an age of digital technology, smart phones; HDTV’s and drive-through wedding chapels, waiting for anything is considered passé. We shop online and expect next-day delivery. We order dinner by delivery and balk at a 45-minute wait. We start a diet and expect to change in two weeks the damage it took a decade to create. But nothing is quite as prone to rushed preparation, as our food.
Fast-food restaurants now dominate the market, microwavable meals are considered normal, and “instant” packaged foods take up at least 80% of our supermarket shelves. Food is processed, refined, canned, boiled, pickled, bottled, and manufactured in such a way as to “appeal” to the modern palate, meaning any nutritional benefits are greatly reduced, if not completely absent. Food manufacturers and supermarkets are in business to make a profit – building massive, warehouse-type stores with hundreds of shelves that need filling with foods with a long shelf-life; meaning our food is preserved with numerous chemicals, additives, fats, salts, and sugars.
And most troubling of all?
Most of these “additions” largely go unnoticed by most of us who eat these foods without a second thought.
Despite our rapid advancements in medicine, and our ever-increasing awareness of good health, we have never before seen such a surge of “lifestyle-related”, diseases as we have in the past 50 years. Cancer, heart-disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression are now all-too common. We also have a plethora of energy bars, energy “shots” and “gels”, yet we don’t seem to have more energy, in fact, we have less than ever. In our age most people work themselves to death, demanding more and more from their bodies, experience more stress and sleep less than any previous generation. Yet we are eating even less nutritious food than our ancestors who didn’t place even half the demands on their bodies that we do on ours.
Most people would probably imagine that medicine is the answer to modern-day illnesses, but most wouldn’t give a second thought to what could have prevented them. Too easily we find ourselves at the doctor’s office, expecting answers to our health problems; we go home and take a magic pill that we expect will make us better. But little do we realize how preventable so many of these illnesses are, nor do we give ourselves credit as to how much power we have as individuals to avoid falling victim to them.
For decades we have been lulled into the belief that cutting down on portion sizes and eating low-calorie, fat-free diet foods, have been the answer to our health woes. Yet obesity is rising at an alarming rate, with most people who “diet” reporting that they can never truly find an eating plan that works, thus falling into the inevitable cycle of losing and gaining weight, seemingly without end.
What if I were to tell you that calorie-counting, eating fat-free foods, living on small portions and eating proprietary diet foods could actually be contributing to weight-gain and obesity? If this shocks you, please continue reading. You will be surprised at what you learn……..
I’m not going to blind you with science and inundate you with pages of scientific data from laboratories and universities, nor am I going to wave a plethora of qualifications under your nose to prove my knowledge. For what it’s worth, I have no formal degree in Health or Nutrition. I am what you call self-educated, well-traveled, and curious. I am also concerned for my own health and well-being and love good, healthy, food. That’s about it. I have spent 25 years researching this subject, and almost as long living it. All the knowledge I have I found in books, online articles, newspapers, textbooks, documentaries, and most importantly of all – self experimentation.
I have never been afraid to try different eating plans on myself, to gauge how I look and feel throughout the process. I have also come to really listen to my body, listening to what it really needed, not just what I wanted. I believe our bodies will never steer us in the wrong direction if we really listen to ourselves and our needs.
So many people are perplexed as to why they gain weight. Let’s think for a minute about our bodies. Our digestive systems are designed to digest, assimilate, and eliminate mostly natural, water-based foods, as our bodies are made up of 70% water. Water-based foods are fruits and vegetables, which should make up 60% -70% of our diet. The remaining 30% should be concentrated foods such as animal proteins, grains, diary, etc.
The body cannot process the amount of concentrated foods so prevalent in the modern diet – at least not the amount that we eat on a daily basis. It creates havoc for the digestive tract, which is simply not designed to deal with the overload of stodgy, processed foods of which so much of our food supply is made up of, to say nothing of the added chemicals.
If these foods are eaten day in and day out, the body is constantly in catch-up mode, slowing the metabolism, clogging the colon and ultimately leading to disease or early death. We don’t need more advanced prescription drugs. We simply need to get back to eating properly – the way Nature intended.
I believe it is the birthright of every man, woman, and child on planet Earth to have access to natural, chemical-free, nutritious, food. Yet here we are in the 21st century and most people fight for these rights due to poverty, lack of knowledge, limited access, or misinformation.
Weight-gain, obesity, over-eating, and food cravings are now more to do with what’s in modern-day food rather than an individual’s willpower or self-control. In other words, we can now stop putting the blame solely on ourselves, because most modern-day food is chemically altered and genetically engineered, making it as addictive as a drug.
We all have the power to change our eating habits; we just have to arm ourselves with knowledge. Forget fad diets, portion control, gastric bands, over-exercising, bingeing and purging, calorie counting and self-denial. Those are all symptoms of a chemically-saturated food chain which is so far removed from Nature that it may as well come from another planet. What we need to do is get back to basics, back to eating the way the human body was designed to eat. Arming oneself with the knowledge to become a better consumer, and to nourish the body more effectively are two of the most powerful steps one can take toward health and longevity. My intention is that once you have read this series of articles, you will be in a position to implement these tools immediately and effectively.
By bringing awareness to, and addressing these various topics I have brought to light in this series, I hope I can shed some light on healthy eating, debunk some diet myths, and set my readers on to a new path of health and wellness. Based around my nutritional talks that I offer at the detox resort in Thailand, where I am currently located, I believe they will add much value to all who read them.
I hope you find them useful, educational, and life-changing.
Part Two – My Story
I would like to give you a bit of my background, which I feel has given me a unique opportunity to write this blog. Firstly, I have almost 25 years’ experience researching food and nutrition; however I didn’t always follow a healthy path. I had my dark moments, even suffering a few illnesses that propelled me towards this healthier way of living. Yet my experience is distinctive in its own way, and I almost feel like events and situations were put in my path so that I could overcome and learn from them, to put me in this position to write about it and help others.
So here goes….
I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa to a middle-class family. We had a good life; my parents were hard-working, conscientious people who sacrificed a lot for my brother and me. My mother was especially emphatic about good eating, and constantly preached to us on the virtues of healthy eating. We had strict rules at home when it came to food. For instance, we had to eat one orange and two leafy green vegetables every day. There were no compromises on this…we couldn’t have dessert until all the vegetables were eaten. If we were still hungry after a meal, we were given salad, not potatoes or meat. I resented my mother at the time for this atrocity, but in retrospect it was probably one of the most valuable habits I have kept from my childhood. Chocolates were only allowed on Fridays and weekends, and junk food was a big no-no, except on holidays.
By the time I hit my teens, I developed the normal teenage fascination with junk food. It was my way of rebelling, I suppose, as I hadn’t really grown up with it. By age 14, I was eating fast food at least 5 times a week. I also became heavily addicted to Coca-Cola, drinking up to 2 Liters per day! My junk food obsession went on for three years, and although I was chubby without being obese, I developed a severe acid stomach, which eventually lead to an ulcer. By age 16 I was on two different medications: Tagamet for my stomach and Bentl for what the doctor said was a “spastic colon”. *
My symptoms were dismal. I was in constant pain, bloated, constipated, nauseous, and tired. My immune system was obviously under duress, as I frequently suffered from colds and flu. Social events became increasingly difficult, so I turned to food for comfort. I remember one year spending a total of 3 months out of school, because I was too sick to leave home. I looked bad too. I was overweight, and had bags under my eyes. My skin was blotchy uneven, and I had pimples. I looked a lot older than my age. I had lost my spark at age 16!
But, according to my GP, I needed this medication to “get better”, so I continued to take it. Even my mother, with all her nutritional knowledge, was stumped. I was instructed to eat “bland” food, and cut out most fruits and vegetables. In hindsight that was probably the worst medical advice I could have recieved. To eat rice, plain bread and other acid-forming foods in lieu of alkalizing foods to treat an ulcer is absurd. But such was the belief in those days. No wonder ulcers remained uncured and persistent. We got sick, went to the doctor for a solution, and went home with medication. That was the standard protocol in the 80’s.
Admittedly the medication did make me feel better at first, but something about it didn’t feel right, and I started asking some big questions. Firstly, why was a teenager in the prime of her youth on TWO different prescription medications? Secondly, wasn’t there a better alternative to these debilitating pharmaceuticals? Surely I wasn’t THAT sick. Or was I? Well, yes I was, because I spent three months of the year at home with severe symptoms. So I began to look at alternative methods of healing myself, with an aim of putting the medication down for good.
I started reading books about diet and nutrition, researching foods which were most beneficial for healing an acid stomach. My research lead me to the wonders of detoxing – notably the papaya detox, which supposedly eased the symptoms of stomach ulcers. Upon reading about the wonders of papain (the enzyme in papaya), I embarked on a 2-week detox program eating just papaya, and drinking lots of herbal teas and water.
And what do you know, it worked.
It only took a couple of weeks for me to reap the benefits. I lost weight, and stopped suffering the unbearable symptoms that had plagued me for years. I continued to incorporate papaya into my daily breakfasts, stopped eating fried foods, and limited my intake of acid-forming foods. And best of all — I stopped taking my medication and never needed it again! That’s right, the wonder-drug called Tagamet paled in comparison to what the miracle fruit papaya was able to achieve. If that isn’t evidence of Hippocrates’s belief in food being the best medicine, I don’t know what is.
To this day I continue to use food as my medicine, and try to maintain a 60-70% alkaline/water-based daily diet (which I will touch on a bit later in the series).
Then at age 19 I discovered the gym and became a little obsessed with weight-training and the diet associated with it. Of course back in the 80’s/early 90’s, the “Whole Wheat” craze was trendy, with everyone eating whole wheat pastas, whole grain bread, whole wheat crackers, etc. It never occurred to me that a diet heavy in carbohydrates was bad for me because everywhere I looked, I was told to “eat more whole wheat and whole grain for a healthier life”. I obeyed this religiously, yet I was always tired, always bloated, and could never quite seem to shift the extra weight, despite my dedication to the gym (2+ hours per day!). So what was going on? I was fastidious about good eating, but nothing seemed to help me get really lean, or increase my energy levels. In addition, I suffered from frequent colds and flu. At least twice a year I came down with debilitating coughs and colds which were baffling to me, considering how much attention I paid to my diet. At least, so I thought.
It was only after years of misery that I made the discovery that certain people had difficulty digesting carbohydrates (particularly wheat) and that the “one size fits all” method of eating was antiquated and absurd. I also probed a bit into the blood type theory and found it aligned exactly with what I was experiencing. Being an O blood type, I was supposed to eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates anyway; because of the way my body metabolized certain foods. As soon as I lowered my carb intake and increased my protein intake, I felt a hundred percent better, and my weight stabilized. As I started feeling better, I suffered less from colds and flu.
Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I continued to experiment with various eating plans, seeing what made me feel my best and ditchined redundant habits. I continued my nutritional research, and my eating plan evolved to incorporate more raw foods, minimizing gluten and dairy, and focusing on eating a mostly organic diet. I started to feel healthier than I had in 15 years, and my metabolism was so efficient I maintained a steady weight for the duration of my 30’s – something almost unheard of for most people in that age group, who experience a slowing metabolism.
However, during some dark moments in my mid-30’s, a doctor in London “diagnosed” me as having depression, in a 10 minute consultation without even doing the requisite tests to confirm his diagnosis! He prescribed an anti-depressant and told me to return two weeks later. In hindsight I realized the truth – I was suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), having never lived in such a sunless climate before. But what struck me was how easily I was given the anti-depressant without being asked about my eating habits or even informed about SAD. It was straight to a medication, game over. This is a glaring reminder of the needless and dangerous anti-depressant epidemic sweeping the Western world today. After deciding that the pills weren’t for me, I embarked instead on a raw food diet plan for 6 weeks, and took up cycling to work versus using the underground. Needless to say, I felt noticeably better and the feelings of depression subsided as the seasons changed.
Now that I am in my 40’s the desire to feel energetic, balance hormone levels, delay the ageing process, and avoid disease are my top priorities. Due to my current eating habits, I am unable to enjoy or digest things I used to love, such as dairy products, bread and all wheat-based products. I am tuned into my body’s needs like never before, and as my body changes, so do my eating patterns. Turning my attention to things like…
Reading food labels
Eating foods according to blood type
The cycles of the body according to the Chinese meridian clock
Understanding GMO foods
Finding alternative sources of protein
……has allowed me to reach levels of health like never before, and I feel and look younger than I did 20 years ago.
Following this lifestyle has made such a difference that I now feel compelled to write this blog, in the hope that others out there may find it useful towards achieving optimum health for themselves.
In my own experience I have discovered that when eating according to Nature’s way, life will change for the better in unimaginable ways: One will have more energy, more vitality, better skin and hair, no indigestion, constipation, colds, or migraine headaches. All in all, one’s quality of life will improve immensely. But it all comes down to making a few simple changes.
Today I live and work in Thailand at a well-known detox resort, working as nutritionist and Yoga teacher, helping people achieve their goals. Whether wanting to lose weight, clean their bodies or lose their prescription drug dependency, they all have one thing in common: Their way of life is not working for them anymore and they desire change. I have had the pleasure of seeing people from all walks of life and all age groups lose their prescription medication dependencies through detoxing their bodies; especially lifestyle-related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Speaking specifically about high blood pressure medication: I have worked with many guests – who, after a complete two-week detox of liquid, plant-based foods, coffee enemas and liver flushing – have successfully stopped taking their medication. For good. To this day these people remain happy, healthy, and free of thier medication. A simple detox, weight-loss program, and curbing of bad eating habits were all it took to relieve them of the never-ending cycle of misery that reliance upon medication can create.
It kind of makes one question the motives of so many doctors, who typically prescribe harmful toxins to the public without addressing lifestyle changes first. Why is it that so many people are on these dangerous drugs (I’ve met people in their 20’s who are on blood pressure medication), when an initial adjustment of eating and lifestyle habits are all that would have sufficed? What is it with our doctors?
So, if like many others out there, you find yourself reliant upon dangerous medication for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, stomach ulcers, chronic fatigue syndrome, or any other lifestyle related illness and want to look at food as a possible alternative to getting better, then I believe I can help you. To reiterate what I said earlier, I am no doctor or qualified nutritionist, but with a quarter century of study, personal and hands-on experience with people, and seeing the enormous changes taking place in them every day, I guarantee that it is worth a try. You just need to arm yourself with some facts first, so please do continue reading…….
Part 3 – Hidden Supermarket Dangers
So many of us, with the best will in the world, try to shop and eat healthily. We look at “whole wheat”, “all natural”, “naturally sourced”, and other such labels, and fill our shopping carts accordingly, hoping that all this healthy food will live up to our expectations. But what if I told you that there are many hidden dangers in these so-called “health foods” that could actually be making you sick, or preventing you from losing weight? It is startling to have this revelation, but once you take a really close look at the labeling of the foods in most supermarkets, you will begin to realize that the food you buy may not be what you think. Don’t worry; it’s not your fault. Food companies are very adept at marketing their products in a way that appeals to the consumer. It’s very clever…and very sneaky.
To illustrate my point, I have a challenge for you. Go to your local supermarket, and put the following items in your shopping cart:
– A box of cereal – any brand
– A loaf of bread
– A frozen vegetarian dinner
– A box of energy bars, or “health bars” – any brand
– A variety of condiments – ketchup, mayonnaise, HP sauce, etc
– A block of cheese
– A pint of skimmed milk
– A tub of ice-cream
– A jar of curry or pasta sauce
– Frozen tofu burgers
– 6-pack of diet cola
This looks like a pretty standard basket of food, right? No “naughty” items, except maybe the ice-cream. Seems pretty healthy and adequate, right?
Have a look at the labeling on the boxes of each of these items. Chances are most will say:
“Less than 0.5g of trans fat per serving”, or “Less than 0.5g of sugar per serving”. That’s right. Per SERVING! In some countries it is even legal for a food manufacturer to label a product as having “0g of sugar/fat per serving”, as long as the product doesn’t contain more than 0.5g of sugar/fat. So in other words, despite a zero gram labeling, there could well be at least zero point five grams of fat or sugar.
Food for thought if you are gaining weight and wondering why!
In the case of the cereal, there may be at least TWELVE servings per box….meaning you should multiply 0.5g x 12 to get the total amount you will consume. And that is just the cereal. The condiments, ice-cream, bread, and so-called “health bars” will probably have similar labeling, which means that if you added the sugar and fat in all these items together on a calculator, your shopping basket would show dramatic levels of each. So the list above is most certainly not a healthy basket of food at all! Consider this: 70 years ago this basket of food would have been a lot different. However in the last 50 years we have drastically altered our food supply to feed demand. Not only are we genetically altering our natural food products, but food is more nutritionally deficient than it was half a century ago, due to agricultural demands creating topsoil erosion and over-farming.
Remember this: The longer a product is expected to last on the shelf, the worse it is for you. Period.
Used as preservatives and flavor enhancers, sugar and fat is pretty much in anything boxed, jarred, canned, packaged, or frozen. These denatured, “dead” foods are devoid of taste, so sugar and fat are needed to enhance their flavor. Foods containing sugar are also highly addictive, as they generate a pleasurable experience for the consumer, creating desire and need for the consumer to return again and again.
Supermarket food – the longer the shelf life, the shorter your life
Supermarkets are in business for one thing: To make a profit. By and large they are not interested in our health. Moreover it is not uncommon to see massive, warehouse-style supermarkets selling everything from bulk vegetables to furniture, all together in one superstore. These “superstores” have hundreds of shelves that need to be filled with foods with a long shelf life; otherwise they would need to replenish stock on a daily basis, which is hardly feasible. In order for the food to last a long time on the shelves, they are loaded with additives; chemicals, salt, fat, and sugars, which are used as preservatives and flavor enhancers. And for good reason – most of these “dead” foods are tasteless and devoid of any real nutrients, and thus require the presence of additives simply to make them more palatable and appealing! If something has a shelf-life of a year, imagine what it does for your body!
That’s right – absolutely nothing.
Food that has a long shelf life is so far removed from its natural state, how can it be anything but bad for the body? It needs to be pumped full of chemicals, and there is no way around that. The longer the shelf life of food, the shorter your life if you eat it…always remember that.
So just what are the hidden dangers in these foods? Let’s take a look:
How many of my readers have been on a diets where you are instructed to drink unlimited amounts of diet drinks as they are “free food”? Those same diets tell you to restrict how much fruit you eat, because fruit is supposedly “full of sugar” and should be “monitored”. I cannot help but laugh out loud at this logic. Firstly, fruit is probably the healthiest food on the entire planet for the human species. We have evolved over thousands of years to be fruit eaters, and no food on earth supplies us with more nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It is the perfect food for human beings in every possible way, and should only be monitored in special cases for people with Candida, or Type 1 Diabetes. People who suffer from fructose malabsorption can still eat fruit; however they have to be careful which fruits they eat. For the rest of us — fruit could and should be eaten in abundance, and should be organic only (more on that later).
Diet drinks, on the other hand, are nothing but chemicals. They are loaded with Aspartame (an additive and known poison with detrimental side-effects). For most people, diet drinks are innocent enough and favored for their low-caloric value. Over time – if drunk regularly – they have unpleasant, long-term effects on the human body.
The truth about aspartame is quite alarming, so consume at your peril!
Aspartame is a sugar alternative that is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar)! The controversy surrounding Aspartame is astounding: The FDA refused to approve it for years, after scientific research revealed its devastating side-effects. Lab rats exposed to aspartame developed tumors, and lab monkeys frequently died. Astonishingly, approval was granted in the 70’s amid the controversy, despite claims of falsified scientific data. So although apparently unsafe for animals, it was labeled safe for human consumption. And 40 years later we are paying the price.
Known as NutraSweet, Candarel, Equal, it has approximately 92 different proven side-effects. It has been implicated in everything from multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, methanol toxicity, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome; even death. Adverse food reactions almost always lead back to aspartame, yet the substance is added to food with impunity. Suffer from insomnia? Heart palpitations? Tinnitus? Dizziness? Depression? Joint pain? Anxiety? Numbness in legs? Chances are you could be suffering from aspartame overload and may want to take a look at what you are eating/drinking.
Aspartame is made up of aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol – two amino acids and a chemical. If eaten/drunk in large quantities, methanol becomes poisonous to the central nervous system. Aspartame breaks down into formaldehyde, as well as a chemical known as diketopiperazine, which has been linked to brain tumors in lab rats! According to documented studies, aspartame actually increases the craving for sugar, creating havoc on blood sugar levels, which ultimately leads to weight gain. Does this sound like something that is a good substitute for natural sugar? I doubt it. Aspartame is found in roughly 5000 products. Some notable examples:
- Anything labeled “Sugar Free” – aspartame is added for that sweet taste.
- Diet drinks
- Sugar substitutes – Canderel, NutraSweet, Equal
- Chewing gum
- Sugar-Free dairy products
- Fruit juices
- Nutritional/Power Bars
- “Vitamin” waters and wine coolers
- Prescription drugs
- Vitamin supplements
Researchers at the University Of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio made a startling discovery. Lab rats that were fed aspartame developed a pre-diabetic condition, but this was not the case with rats who didn’t consume aspartame. You can draw your own conclusions on this one, but let’s be honest – do you still think drinking this awful stuff is better than eating fruit? I bet not!
You can research the facts about aspartame – it is readily available on the internet. What you read will astound you, and then you have the power to decide if you really want to continue eating foods containing this stuff. I suggest this site for more information: http://www.alaskawellness.com/AspartameArchive.htm
Bottom line: Artificial sweeteners appeal to the palate, but wreak havoc on the brain, pancreas, and liver. Over time, this creates an imbalance in the body and instability in blood sugar levels, resulting in weight-gain and disease.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
For those of you out there who are concerned with eating too much fat in your diet….rest assured, there is a stealthier foe lurking in your food. It’s sugar, but not the familiar table sugar that comes from sugar cane (sucrose). Instead it’s the syrupy residue left over from corn production which is known as High Fructose Corn Syrup. Cheap to manufacture, it is now an additive in pretty much every food product on our supermarket shelves.
HFCS became popular in the 1970’s as a taste enhancer and food preserver. Mass corn production began in earnest in the US, and suddenly it was in every food item imaginable. It is cheap to produce and hugely profitable for food manufactures and farmers. It has been a prolific additive in our food chain for the past 40 years, being added to everything from bread to frozen vegetables. It doesn’t take a nutritionist or doctor to realize that diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc, have surged in the last 40 years, which is frighteningly coincidental to the time that the food shelves were flooded with “fat-free” foods. Shopping carts were suddenly filled to the brim with these wonder foods promising weight-loss, fuelling the demand for anything labeled “fat-free”. The reality? These foods are pumped full of HFCS, with many people none the wiser because it still tastes fine and contained no fat, which leads people to believe they are following a healthier way of eating.
A group of Princeton University researchers discovered that lab rats who were fed HFCS gained significantly more weight than those who were fed regular table sugar. Every single one of them became obese, even more than the rats on a high-fat diet! They also noticed that the fat accumulated predominantly around the abdominal area, which is essentially being duplicated in humans. Carrying extra weight around one’s middle is hardly a rarity these days.
It’s 2012, and we are surrounded by foods saturated in HFCS, yet people are still perplexed as to why they are gaining weight. Obesity is reaching epidemic proportions across the globe, with people clamoring for gastric band surgeries and other drastic measures, all the while ignoring the elephant in the room. I believe it is quite possible that most people truly do not realize how much sugar they are eating. This sneaky additive is so prolific, that I estimate 80% of the total products in most shopping carts of today are products with HFCS (even when food is labeled and marketed as “healthy”, or “natural”.)
The examples are literally endless:
- Sodas, fruit juices, fruit cordials
- Pastries, Muffins, Pies, Cakes, Donuts
- Crackers, Biscuits, Cookies, Granola bars
- Canned fruit and vegetables
- Dairy products, especially flavored yogurt, Ice Cream
- Peanut Butter
- Instant dinners
- Frozen pizzas
- Instant soups
- Salad dressings
The average American teenager now consumes as much sugar in a day as our ancestors did in an entire year! Now proven by scientists to trigger the “pleasure centers” of the brain, it triggers the dopamine and serotonin levels, meaning only one thing: Once consumed, the desire for more is overwhelming, putting it on par with cocaine, or nicotine. This is not at all hard to imagine. Think of how you react every time you eat one of these types of foods. Chances are, you want more, right? I know…..it is really hard to resist using too much ketchup or mustard, or to put the cookie jar down once one has been eaten, or to say no to a pastry with coffee. But WHY is it so hard? Because HFCS is addictive. Period.
There are two major reasons to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup:
- Fructose is processed in the liver, and never before in the history of mankind has the liver had to work so hard to process it all. The sheer volume of fructose entering the body sends the liver into panic mode, because it simply cannot store it all. So guess what happens? That’s right…it gets stored as fat. As if that wasn’t bad enough…..
- Fructose blocks the release of leptin, a hormone produced by the body. One of its main functions is to regulate hunger. FRUCTOSE BLOCKS THE RELEASE OF LEPTIN. Without the release of leptin, the brain does not know when the body has had enough to eat. This presents a huge problem for people who consume products with HFCS, because the body does not know when it has had too much fructose. NOTE: This is not the case with fruit, because the fiber in fruit gives the body a full signal, so over-dosing on fructose is unlikely when one consumes fruit. But it is inherently more dangerous when consumed as HFCS-laden products.
Too much fructose in the body cannot be processed by the liver and thus gets stored as fat
Fructose has no impact on hunger whatsoever, meaning a person can continue eating it even once the levels have exceeded an acceptable limit. It is however, safe to eat in the form of fruit.
HFCS causes metabolic disturbances, increases appetite, and causes weight-gain. It is a sneaky additive to many different foods, both sweet and savory. Read your food labels properly or risk eating too much HFCS!
Corn-fed livestock – know the origins of your meat and dairy products!
Unless you purposely went about researching the subject of corn-fed livestock, you would be none the wiser to the fact that it had any impact on the food you ate. I was oblivious to this until I embarked on my own research, but the fact that meat and dairy is so cheap and accessible to people nowadays is largely because farm animals are fed corn, as opposed to grass. You may be wondering why this is even something that needs to be addressed. Allow me to elaborate a bit….
In the mid 20th century farmers made a discovery that transformed their industry, making agriculture one of the most profitable enterprises on the planet. The eureka moment? Corn feed. Instead of grazing cows over acres of pastureland, they could now be kept in feedlots and fed corn instead of grass. Corn is cheaper, and fattens animals up a lot more quickly, meaning that corn-fed cows become ready for slaughter 2-3 years sooner than grass-feeders. In addition, corn is heavily subsidized by the government in the US (the world’s largest corn producer). It’s a win-win situation. Fatter cows mean fatter profits, which also drives down the price of meat and dairy products, making them more accessible to the wider public. However, this has come at a tremendous price for us, for several reasons. Firstly, cows are natural ruminants, meaning they are designed to eat and digest grass. Corn-fed cattle have weak immune systems and are prone to a host of health issues such as Sudden Death Syndrome, E-Coli, and Mad Cow Disease. Worse still, corn-fed cows kept in feedlots are heavily inundated with antibiotics, growth hormones, and steroids. And guess what? We, the top of the food chain, are consuming all of this. You can pretty much guarantee that all the affordable meat and dairy at your local supermarket is sourced from corn-feed factory cows.
Corn-fed meat and saturated fat
(I am going to use beef as an example here, but cheese, milk, and even farmed salmon all fall into the same category).
The saturated fat content in corn-fed beef is exponentially higher than grass-fed beef. Don’t be enticed by the tenderness of the meat…the more tender the meat, the higher it is in fat. In addition, corn is riddled with pesticides. Add the antibiotics, the steroids, the hormones and saturated fat, and look at what you are left with: Something that resembles a lab experiment more than a food product, and yet the supermarket shelves are flooded with this stuff. Hopefully you have access to a farmer’s market in your neighborhood, at the very least somewhere that you can purchase meat and dairy from grass-fed (range fed) animals. Always ask questions. The more you know about where your animal products are sourced, the better for you. Locally sourced, organic produce from grass-fed animals is always the best choice, remember that!
Bottom line: Meat and dairy from corn-fed animals is higher in saturated fat, and is riddled with antibiotics and pesticides. People who find they cannot lose weight no matter how healthily they are eating should pay close attention to how cheap the meat and dairy is that they are eating. It could be a huge factor in why your weight just won’t shift!
Part 4: Milk – The Ultimate Diet Folly
When we think of strong bones and tooth decay prevention…or when needing our daily calcium fix, or a soothing bedtime drink…..what comes to mind?
Milk, of course.
It’s our favorite bone-building, calcium-providing beverage. Good old milk, the one thing we can rely on for strong teeth and bones, right?
The reality? Nothing could be further from the truth.
Pasteurized milk is probably one of the worst things any human adult can drink. It is not beneficial to the body at all. Sure, it is filled with Vitamins A, D, and Calcium, but we lack the ability to absorb these nutrients, due to the decline in lactase – an enzyme that allows milk to digest– from about age 3 onwards. Toddler complaints such as colic and skin rashes have been linked to cow’s milk consumption, a little-known fact that deserves wider recognition and acceptance, especially amongst new mothers . The public are not solely to blame for the misinformation, as the hugely profitable dairy industry does a pretty fine job of promoting the health virtues of their hugely profitable beverage!
Need something to sooth your stomach? Milk makes it worse!
Foods fall into one of two categories: Acid-forming or Alkaline-forming in the body. Most people would consider milk to be alkaline, but this is not so. When milk enters the body, it becomes acidic. Many people attempt to “soothe” a troubled stomach by drinking milk, but milk actually makes matters worse! If too many acid-forming foods are consumed over a prolonged period, the body will attempt to neutralize the acid by:
– Robbing the bones of calcium. Calcium has a neutralizing affect on acidic levels
– Retaining water. People who constantly feel bloated may want to check how many acid-forming foods they eat. The body is a remarkable machine which will go to any lengths to maintain an acid/alkaline balance.
Consider this: In countries where little to no dairy is eaten, osteoporosis is virtually unheard of! But in the United States – the biggest dairy consumers in the world – osteoporosis cases amongst women are growing. There are currently 40 million people either with – or at risk of – osteoporosis, in America. In addition (and this may shock you), despite the enormous quantities of dairy consumption, many American children are calcium-deficient, suffering from tooth decay from a very early age. This, despite most American children drinking milk by the liter! Something isn’t right with this picture.
Milk hampers the digestion of food
If milk is consumed with a meal it coagulates around food particles, preventing the food from digesting properly. Over time, the undigested food particles get stored as toxins in the fat cells, or become sticky and clog the colon walls, making nutrient absorption impossible. Milk and dairy products also create mucus in the body, which slows down the body’s metabolic processes. In other words, frequent consumption of milk in this form can only lead to weight-gain and misery.
Raw milk is by far the healthier choice, as it contains all the crucial enzymes destroyed in the pasteurization process. Of course drinking raw milk is feasible if you can obtain it where you live, otherwise look at dairy alternatives such as almond, soy, or rice milk. (Fortified almond milk, for instance, contains as much calcium as dairy milk, and is more easily assimilated by the body).
Pasteurization – is it really necessary in 2012?
The process of pasteurization destroys lactase, the enzyme required for the digestion of milk. Raw goat’s milk is the best alternative…if you can find it. Unfortunately, raw milk has an undeserved bad reputation as being unsafe and unhealthy. As a result, people are constantly misled and misinformed, and therefore won’t offer raw milk any consideration. In fact it is filled with beneficial bacteria that facilitate a healthy gut in humans…unlike chemically-treated pasteurized milk which destroys healthy intestinal flora in humans, wreaking havoc on the immune system.
Note: Make sure that you buy raw milk from a reputable local farmer, as it can be unsafe if improperly handled. It is most unfortunate that raw milk in general is so condemned by the media and food manufacturers, but the powerful the dairy industry is far too profitable, and too entwined politically with grants and subsidies, to give the raw milk industry the recognition and attention it deserves.
Pasteurization was developed in the 1800’s to kill pathogens in milk and to prevent the spread of tuberculosis, scarlet fever, diptheria, and other such diseases of the era. However in the 21st century our improved standards of hygiene together with scientific research should make us ponder the necessity of continued pasteurization. After all, humans consumed raw milk for thousands of years prior to the advent of pasteurization, and given the connection between pasteurized milk and modern diseases and ailments, it really does beg the question.
The skim milk folly
I have some more bad news, sorry!
Skim milk might actually worse for you than whole milk. Whole milk contains cream, which steadies the blood sugar levels, and is thus the healthier option. Skim milk is quite literally skimmed of all its goodness, and actually raises blood sugar levels as it has more lactose per serving.
Diabetics, take note: If you must drink milk, full cream is obviously better than skim for this reason.
The bottom line: Pasteurized milk is acid-forming in the body, causing a breakdown of calcium. It is indigestible by the human stomach, so the calcium and vitamins remain unabsorbed. Raw, organic milk from grass-fed cows (or goats) is the best choice. Milk should never be drunk with food, as it inhibits digestion. Milk is a food and should thus be consumed alone.
What milk cows eat, we eat
The cheap supermarket milk on virtually every supermarket shelf in the Western world is from corn-fed cows.
Why corn, and why is this relevant?
Because corn fattens animals up a lot quicker than grass! Keeping 20 cows in CAFO’s (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) is a lot more lucrative for a dairy farmer than having 20 cows spread over acres of pasture. It all comes down to profit, of course.
Cows in CAFO’s are prone to a multitude of diseases, such as E-Coli, Mad Cow Disease, and other bovine miseries that manifest when cattle are kept in abnormal surroundings whilst fed unnatural food. In contrast to their grass-fed counterparts, corn-fed cows release methane gas into the atmosphere, poisoning the air supply. Man’s over-manipulated dairy products are manufactured to feed a massive, growing global population with very little consideration for our health. Gone are the days when mainstream dairy products were naturally sourced and fresh.
Consider this: Keeping continuously pregnant cows disease-free in such close quarters, whilst feeding them fattening, unnatural corn requires a lot of chemical exploitation. Large quantities of bovine growth hormones, sex hormones, anti-fungal drugs, antibiotics, and steroid hormones are injected into these poor animals on a continual basis. And who pays the price by consuming all of this? Humans do. We are, after all, at the top of the food chain.
There are plenty of dairy alternatives available that provide as much calcium and vitamins as dairy milk. In addition, one can avoid all the side-effects that drinking milk creates: bloating, constipation, allergies, excess mucus, allergies, wrecked immune systems, etc.
The dairy industry constantly bombards us with advertising propaganda about how desperately we need more calcium. The truth is, an average sized human adult can eat a handful of raw almonds every day and never be calcium deficient, or in need of supplements.
The best sources of calcium are found in raw almonds, salmon, freshly squeezed orange juice, and broccoli. These four foods are also better digested and assimilated by the body. Each of them – with exception of the salmon – is an alkaline-forming food. Alkaline-forming foods should make up at least 60% of your daily intake.
So the next time you find yourself in the dairy isle at your local supermarket staring at pasteurized milk, please take a moment to consider the journey that the beverage took from factory farm to supermarket shelf, and whether it really deserves to be a part of your healthy lifestyle.
Part 4: Acid vs. Alkaline foods and the vital role of Enzymes
We have always heard the “eat more fruits and vegetables” rule, from our parents, our grandparents, and school teachers alike. We know that we should eat more fruit and vegetables – admittedly, we are probably all lacking a bit in that respect. We also all know that most of our vitamin and mineral intake is achieved through eating fruits and vegetables; most people will probably agree that they focus on their fruit and vegetable intake more so when g on a diet than at any other time in their lives.
There is, however, so much more to know about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Unless one learns through a nutritional course, one might never know just how important fruits and vegetables are for the human body, and why.
Probably one of the most overlooked facts about the foods we eat is whether they become acid or alkaline in the body. Whenever food is digested, it leaves behind an ash which is acidic, alkaline, or neutral. The balance can be measured using the pH scale, which defines neutrality as 7. The ideal pH condition for blood is 7.4, and if too acidic, acidic components are deposited into other parts of the body so that the blood can maintain its alkalinity
If too many acid-forming foods are eaten too often, it causes the body to retain water, resulting in weight-gain. Ever wondered why you suddenly lose a lot of water weight when beginning a healthy diet of mostly alkaline-forming foods? Well, this is one of the reasons.
I have helped a lot of people who are baffled as to why they always retain water and feel bloated. When discussing their typical daily intake, there is always a common theme: Virtually every one of them had a diet predominant in acid-forming foods! This is no coincidence. The body has its own buffers in place to maintain alkalinity. But even the body has its limits. Ff acid-forming foods are eaten too frequently, alkaline reserves become depleted. When under duress, it will attempt to neutralize acid in two ways:
- Retain water
- Extract calcium from the bones. Calcium has a neutralizing effect on the acid in the body. Over time the calcium levels diminish, leading to weakened teeth and bones
Osteoporosis is on the increase in countries like the United States, where dairy is eaten in immense quantities. Yet people continue to consume vast amounts of pasteurized dairy products as their source of calcium. It’s time to change this! There are plenty of alternative options.
Instead of dairy, focus on broccoli, salmon, sesame seeds, raw almonds, or fresh orange juice for your calcium intake. All except the salmon are alkaline in the body!
Ideally, we should base our daily acid/alkaline intake on a 60/40% ratio. If recovering from an illness, the ratio should be 80/20%. In Western countries where people consume vast quantities of animal proteins, refined sugars, flour, diet sodas, coffee, tea, and pharmaceutical drugs (all acid-forming), cancer and obesity rates are the highest. This is no coincidence.
A mostly alkaline diet will speed up the metabolism and help the body to fight disease. While it may not cure cancer, it will most certainly work as a preemptive measure in the fight against it. And if there is anyone out there who changes to a mostly alkaline diet and does not lose weight, I will eat my hat! In addition, alkaline foods are mostly water-based, just like our bodies. For an organism that is 70% water, we should ideally be eating a 70% water-based diet.
Acid-forming foods are also “concentrated” foods, meaning they are devoid of water – also known as “dead” foods. They require an enormous amount of energy to be digested and assimilated by the body. A hamburger, for instance, can take up to 30 hours to pass through the body once eaten. Imagine what this does to your energy levels! When you eat alkaline-forming foods like fruit, it passes straight through into the intestines and out of the body within an hour, requiring almost no energy for digestion and assimilation. This in turn leaves you with a lot more energy, an efficient immune system, and a healthier, slimmer body. So what are you waiting for? Nature has provided us these foods in abundance, so forget the processed, packaged foods, and get down to your local farmer’s market!
To illustrate the best foods to eat, I have drawn up a table showing examples of foods that are alkaline-forming (60-80% of your diet), and foods that are acid-forming (20 – 40% of your diet).
|Alkaline (60% – 80% of diet)||Acid (20% – 40% of diet)|
|Cucumber, Alfalfa, Spinach, Asparagus, Lettuce, Chives, Garlic, Zucchini, Green Beans, Fresh Peas, Carrots, Beets, Turnips, Avocado, Lime, Lemon, Almonds, Lentils, Tofu, Apple Cider Vinegar, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Radishes, Grapes, Bananas, Melon, Coconut, Stevia, Watermelon, Oranges, Kale, Cold-pressed olive oil||Meat, Chicken, Fish, Bread, Cereal, Cheese, Milk, Tobacco, Alcohol, Tea, Coffee, Eggs, Dairy products, Peanuts, Butter, Chocolate, Sugar, Ketchup, Salt, White Wine Vinegar, all processed/canned foods, pharmaceuticals, Peanut Butter, Soy Milk, Oils, Pasta, Aspartame, and all artificial sweeteners, Cashews,|
Although scientists do argue the link between diet and blood PH levels,
Do a little experiment yourself. For lunch one day, eat a large green salad with cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, onion, tomato, avocado, and some sprinkled nuts and seeds. Enjoy the salad and take careful note how you feel afterwards. Energetic? Check! Satisfied without feeling full and bloated? Check! No need for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Check! That’s what happens when you eat water-based, alkaline foods. They are easily digested and assimilated, the nutrients efficiently used by the body without a demanding a huge amount of your energy. Eating a steak sandwich or baked potato with cheese, demands a lot of energy for digestion and assimilation, undoubtedly causing mid-afternoon fatigue and a need for the 4pm “caffeine fix”.
This may sound harmless enough, but think about it: Your body is constantly rebuilding and renewing cells. If you are eating dead, clogging foods, what kind of cells do you think your body will build? Now imagine the difference in new cells if the body was fed mostly water-based, nutritious, alkalizing foods which are easily absorbed, requiring little or no energy for absorption. You can see where I am going with this!
Tip: Eating “dead” foods ages the body more rapidly
You Are What You Eat
Do you know someone who eats mostly raw fruit and vegetables? If so, you can probably agree that they are energetic, lively, happy, bright-eyed and probably quite youthful. This is a direct result of their diet. Conversely, if you know someone who eats mostly fried, processed, or fast foods, they are most likely pale, fatigued, moody, and prone to colds and flu; have bad skin, and may even look older than their age. This is purely down to cell renewal and rejuvenation. Your body cannot replace cells perfectly if it isn’t getting perfect fuel. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Yet so many people in the 21st century have bad eating habits, resorting to plastic surgery to look younger. It simply doesn’t work that way. A flawless complexion cannot be achieved by plastic surgery. It can only be achieved by eating good, healthy foods that nourish the body on the inside. The most nourishing foods are filled with enzymes – nature’s life-force.
Enzymes And Their Vital Role
Enzymes are a protein molecule found in foods, also known as the spark – or fuel – that ignites life. Although there are thousands of enzyme molecules which play different roles, I will focus on food enzymes for the sake of this article. There is no perfect explanation for exactly what an enzyme is, but I can promise you that they are probably the most important component in your food, for reasons which I will explain.
According to Dr. Edward Howell, the physician and researcher who is a noted expert on the world of enzymes, food enzymes are vital to digestion – and are quite literally, the spark of life. Found in raw foods, they ignite the digestive process in the mouth and the stomach. There are three food enzymes, namely proteases for digesting protein, lipases for digesting fats and amylases for digesting carbohydrates. The best sources of enzymes are raw fruits and vegetables, raw fish, raw honey, cold-pressed olive oil, raw milk; also cultured foods such as live bacterial yogurt. Foods such as bean curd (tofu), papaya, pineapples, and unrefined oils are particularly high in enzymes.
Enzymes are destroyed in the cooking process, leaving the pancreas to the task of producing enzymes to digest cooked food. There is a limit on the amount of enzymes the body can produce, and an over-taxed pancreas causes premature aging, disease, and possible early death. The immense strain put on the digestive system when cooked foods are eaten is greatly reduced if enough raw foods are eaten with the cooked food.
Let’s look at meat for example. We’ve all heard how bad meat is for the body, and you’ve probably heard the reports about how much undigested meat is in the average American male’s colon – 5 pounds, apparently. If we look at how people eat meat, we will have a clearer understanding as to why this happens. All across the world, meat is typically eaten alongside a carbohydrate. In fact it is ingrained in our psyche – eat meat, must have a carbohydrate for “balance”. Hamburger; steak and baked potato; kebab; lasagna; tuna sandwich; egg and toast; roast meat with roast potatoes – the list is literally endless. For hundreds of years we have eaten this way – most people cannot imagine eating any other way.
But the reality of what our bodies need is vastly different to what we think it needs in this instance.
Our digestive systems are not designed to combine proteins and carbohydrates in the same meal. Firstly, proteins and carbohydrates require different digestive enzymes to be broken down. Proteins require an acid, while carbohydrates require an alkaline digestive enzyme.
If for instance, a steak sandwich is eaten, the acid and the alkaline digestive juices neutralize each other in the stomach, hampering digestion. The body, recognizing the difficulty in digesting this combination, secretes more digestive juices, causing an “acid stomach”, bloating, and heartburn. The process of digestion of this food combination can take many hours, so if we then eat another protein/carbohydrate meal combo before the first one is fully digested, the body cannot deal with it all and the undigested food begins to ferment in the body. Over time this “rotten” food is considered toxic and unusable by the body.
These toxins then enter the bloodstream, causing toxemia, or crystallize in the joints (arthritis), clog the colon, slow metabolism, disrupt the body’s mechanisms, cause obesity, and leave the unfortunate person feeling fatigued, moody, and generally “run-down”.
The best way to eat meat
When steak is eaten with vegetable salads, the outcome is very different. Enzymes in the raw vegetables get to work immediately, facilitating digestion of the steak, thus saving the body an enormous amount of energy. A steak is one of the most difficult foods for human body to digest, so why clog up the process with gooey carbohydrates that just hinder the process, when eating a raw salad with the steak is not only more delicious, but it aids the digestions process!
Faster digestion means the body uses less energy, so nutrients are utilized more quickly and effectively, aiding the metabolic process. This is not rocket science. Start focusing on what you are eating together. I challenge you to put this to the test. Try out both a steak and baked potato, and a steak and salad in two separate meals. After you have finished both meals, take careful note of exactly how you feel, how your body reacts.
It is important to note that an exclusive raw food diet isn’t right for everyone. Some people may find that they prefer to have a balance of raw and cooked foods. There is nothing wrong with this – there are still ways to cook foods that ensure the enzymes are kept intact. Steaming softens the vegetables on the outside, keeping the insides crunchy. Baking, boiling, grilling, sautéing – these methods destroy the fragile enzymes that disappear after temperatures of about 115F.
When it comes to keeping raw/cooked foods in balance, it is important not to make too drastic a change, too quickly. I have found a balance of 70% raw, 30% cooked food in my diet to be conducive to my lifestyle, although others may find a 60%/40% ratio is more feasible – at least in the beginning. I try to have two meals a day eaten raw, and one cooked. This keeps things interesting and offers more variety.
My personal eating plan – for optimum health and maintaining weight
Breakfast is usually a papaya smoothie, lunch is usually a salad with fish, and dinner something cooked – curry, or soup of some kind. I snack on raw almonds during the day, and may have a green juice as well, depending on how I feel. I find this ratio of raw to cooked foods ideal for me, my lifestyle, and my wellbeing, but everyone is different. It is important to find what works for you.
Integrating healthier eating habits into one’s daily life should happen slowly. Turning into a raw foodist overnight and banishing all your favorite foods from your house is counterproductive and pointless. Taking a few positive steps forward one at a time towards better eating habits are far more beneficial than changing everything at once.
It’s also good to treat yourself – I am firm believer in this. If, one day a week, you want to eat a pizza, chocolate, or your favorite ice-cream, then do it. If you have a large roast dinner planned with friends, don’t think that you have to deprive yourself….enjoy it. You just have to be aware about what you eat before and after your roast dinner. A fresh fruit breakfast and a raw salad dinner are the perfect meals to assist your body in digesting the roast dinner. Remember…it’s all about balance!
Part 5: Fine Tune Your Eating To Achieve Optimum Health
When changing to a healthier diet, there are areas which many of us overlook. As I wrote earlier, even when we think we are eating healthily, there are still hidden dangers in food masked by clever marketing and misguiding labeling. ¬¬To illustrate my point, I have used an example below, one which I suspect is close to what millions of people can identify with, and would consider a “healthy diet”.
John considers himself to be quite healthy. Most mornings he eats cereal with skim milk and toast with jam, has a tuna/salmon sandwich for lunch, and fish, chicken, or meat, potatoes or rice, and boiled vegetables for dinner. By all accounts he is reasonably in shape, but does feel tired in the afternoons, has irregular bowel movements and catches a cold almost every winter. But his daily intake sounds healthy, right? There are only three small meals a day, no snacking, and no junk food. So why isn’t this a great way to eat, and how can it be improved upon? A few salient points come to mind:
1. Firstly, all three daily meals are combined proteins and carbohydrates. This means three incompatible food combinations in a row. The digestive enzymes required to break down the protein is acid, the carbohydrate is alkaline. These two neutralize each other in the stomach, making the digestive process longer and more taxing on the body. The breakfast cereal is hard to digest because pasteurized cow’s milk literally coagulates around food particles in the stomach, slowing digestion. Add toast and jam into the mix, and you have a carbohydrate and a sugar adding more strain to the digestive system.
2. One combined meal of protein and carbs per day should be the limit – that is – if John wants to feel his absolute best. If every meal is a protein/carb combination, the body remains in constant “catch-up” mode, straining digestion and slowing the body’s processes. Meals are thus never completely digested fully before the next meal enters the body, over time resulting in “rotting” food from which the body cannot extract nutrients. This toxic debris gets stored in the fat cells, or ends up as sticky, hard residue in the colon. If left alone, this toxic waste clogs the colon, which over time becomes hardened and “tube” like.
3. If the body has to deal with this too often, it will look for places to store the toxins in an attempt to keep the bloodstream as clean as possible. These toxins then end up being stored in the fat cells (obesity) or form crystals and sit in the joints (arthritis), slow the metabolism and immune system; causing fatigue, sluggishness, and illness.
4. There’s no raw food in John’s daily intake. He is eating cooked, processed, dead, denatured foods. These dead foods are devoid of enzymes, the life force which aids digestion. In the absence of food enzymes, the body is forced to produce its own which are in limited supply, putting a strain on the pancreas and other organs.
5. His food contains hidden ingredients which he is probably unaware of. The cereal and bread both contain sugar, more than he would probably realize. The milk quite possibly contains hormones, steroids, antibiotics and sugar, especially if it is standard, inexpensive supermarket skim milk.
So what could John do to improve his daily intake? He really doesn’t have to do an entire overhaul of his diet, just make a few small changes. Even two changes would make a remarkable difference in his health, his weight, and his overall wellbeing. Let’s take a look:
Homemade cereal would be a far better alternative. He could use raw oats, raw almonds, dates, sun-dried fruit, honey, goji berries, flaxseed, and raw honey – the list of raw, natural ingredients is pretty diverse. Raw ingredients have all the necessary enzymes for smooth digestion. Instead of cow’s milk he could use almond milk which is not only tastier, but also far better than pasteurized cow’s milk for the reasons we have already covered. AND it’s alkaline-forming in the body. An even better choice first thing in the morning is fruit. Fruit is the ideal food for the human body because it goes straight to the intestine, spending almost no time in the stomach. The nutrients from fruit are immediately absorbed by the body, making it the perfect food for energy. If John ate a large breakfast of toast, bacon, eggs & coffee, he would have less energy for the rest of the day, probably needing a few caffeine fixes along the way!
John’s present lunch selection is halfway correct. The tuna and the bread eaten together are the ultimate culinary faux pas, requiring unnecessary energy to be spent. A better choice would be tuna and salad, or just the bread with salad. The enzymes in the vegetables would facilitate the digestion of the tuna, meaning John’s energy levels would remain constant over the afternoon, and a 4pm “pick-me-up” would be unneeded. For a vegetarian option, avocado, humus, or tofu are excellent alternatives. Avocado is a complete meal – high in protein, and full of omega 3, Vitamin E, and a good source of unsaturated fats – the good fat. Tofu, is a complete protein, is low in cholesterol and also has a carbohydrate content which means it is a complete food. (It is important to note that if a food is made up of a protein and a carbohydrate, it is not the same as two separate foods, thus not disregarding the food combination law). Tofu, avocado, or tuna/chicken added to a big, raw, green salad is the perfect midday meal.
Snacking in the mid-afternoon is fine, as long as it is a healthy, easily digested snack. Eating small meals in between meals speeds up metabolism, and curbs the desire to overeat at meal times. The best snacks are: a handful of raw almonds, seeds, dates, or fruit. Fruit should only be eaten in the mid afternoon on an empty stomach, otherwise it sits behind other food and ferments (causing gas, bloating, and general discomfort). Limit snacks to nothing more than a handful and make sure they are eaten at least 3 hours after the last meal.
Ideally dinner would be whatever was missed at lunch, i.e. the protein or the carbohydrate, served with some lightly steamed veggies, or salad. Steamed veggies should always be crispy on the inside, to keep the enzymes intact. Tofu and brown rice isn’t too much of a crime as both are pretty natural, therefore a lot easier to digest than a steak and chips! Have pasta without meat, fish, or chicken. A baked potato, quinoa, or brown rice with a big serving of lightly steamed veggies are all excellent choices.
Here are a few, simple, easy changes to make to your food intake that will make a drastic improvement in your life:
- Introduce raw foods…slowly. Start by having one meal of raw food per day, even adding a raw salad to one of your meals every day. You will see and feel the benefits almost immediately.
- For breakfast have some fruit, or a fruit shake with raw nuts, raw honey, and raw oats. (I will provide some recipe ideas in later articles).
- Separate your proteins and carbohydrates as much as you can, and if combined meals cannot be avoided, include a large raw salad to help it all digest.
- If you are planning a big meal, such as a roast dinner with friends or a BBQ where you know you’ll mix your food combos, prepare yourself beforehand and afterwards with fresh, raw salads, so as not to overtax your body.
- Stop relying on milk and other dairy for your source of calcium. The best sources of calcium are raw almonds, freshly squeezed orange juice, broccoli, and salmon. Sure, there is calcium in milk, but as we saw earlier, it cannot be absorbed by the human body, in fact robbing the body of calcium for reasons I have already discussed.
- Never eat fruit after a meal as dessert.
Part 6: The Devil That Is Fast Food
How many of you out there can truly say that you have ever been inside a fast-food chain restaurant, and salivated in anticipation of what you were about to eat? Have you ever really enjoyed the experience of eating something fast and greasy, lingering over, and slowly savoring it? The same way you would salivate and linger over a spit roast meal with lots of fresh salads and vegetables (i.e., real food). I bet if you are really honest with yourself, the answer is – NEVER.
Your body knows what it wants, but it is being overridden by the mind when it comes to fast food. What your body wants in that meal is the addictive additives – salt, wheat and sugar (of which make up 90% of the meal). Take away the salt, wheat, sugar, and other additives, and what do you have? Something dead and tasteless, right? Hardly very appetizing indeed!
Yet strangely enough, there you are, devouring this “meal”. So if it’s not the food you’re after, what is it? You got it….the addiction to salt and sugar. What your body really wants is to feed its addiction to the salt, the sugar, and the wheat in that fast food – all the ingredients that cause pandemonium for our health. It’s not tasty, nutritious food; rather it’s cheap and nasty fast-food that fills a void without offering the body anything positive. Yet millions of people go back for more every single day, despite the health warnings, despite common sense, and despite the obvious and dangerous side-effects.
If you pay close attention to the advertising and marketing by the corporate fast-food chains, you will notice that they go to extraordinary lengths to convince the public to consume their products. One laughable (anonymous) example even has the audacity to offer a percentage of their profits from selling soda to the American Diabetic Association, with the aim – believe it or not – of tackling the rising epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes. Is this incredible or what? Buy a drink that contributes to this disease to tackle this disease. And the absurdity doesn’t stop there. There is a doctor who has apparently gone on record to reassure the public that a certain major chain’s hamburger is, in fact, good for your health. From massive highway billboards to Olympic athlete sponsorship, these corporations will go to any length to convince the consumer that eating a large helping of salt, trans fat, sugar, and assorted chemicals disguised as food is perfectly healthy, safe, and desirable.
What you should know is this: Fast food is designed to be addictive. In fact, it’s been proven that these foods actually stimulate the pleasure centre of the brain, causing a person to overeat. To put it in simple layman terms: Because this food is highly processed and devoid of any real nutrients, it simply has to contain vast amounts of sugar and salt to give it some kind of taste. Foods high in sugar gives the consumer a “feel good” sensation, with the same impact as say nicotine, or cocaine. This is how the addiction process begins. And believe me, this is one addiction you do not need. When you eat fast food the feeling of pleasure is so immense, it overrides the reality that you may, in fact, not really be hungry at all – that you are simply fulfilling a need for the taste. This is thanks to the sheer brilliance of the lab technicians who spend hours refining and processing this so-called “food”. Add a bit of clever marketing; create a need where there wasn’t one before, and bam! You have the consumer at your fingertips. Fast food is such a staple in most people’s everyday lives that most don’t even stop to question its value. Some children in the 21st century have never even eaten a salad, but they almost know the McDonalds menu off by heart. Their parents give in to the demands for fast food, which is sadly often cheaper than real, healthy food. This is a modern-day travesty. In my childhood fast food was a treat, eaten on occasion. How things have changed!
The truth about fast food is not exactly hidden from the public. We’ve all most likely seen the picture circulating the internet of a hamburger that was kept in a fridge for 10 years without decomposing. This is what millions of kids – in their formative years – are putting in their bodies! If a child of 5 starts eating fast-food, “hamburgers and fries”, containing oodles of sodium and HFCS, what are his chances of growing up with a healthy body, and what will he be by age 30? Parents need to think of this, as do adults who don’t think twice about stopping in for a greasy burger after a long night on the town. This food is TOXIC. Even one meal can have a lasting [negative] effect on the body; the blood vessels, heart, liver, and kidneys. But eaten every day? Or every week? Can you imagine what that does to the large intestine over time? Is it any wonder people who eat large amounts of fast food suffer from obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, or chronic fatigue? Forget the targeted advertising, the gimmicks, the sport sponsorships, the clever slogans and trendy storefronts. We need to think instead of our amazing bodies and the damage caused by long-term fast food consumption. This remarkable organism that suffers immeasurably each time we indulge in such foods, and left unchecked, will result in a lifetime of disease and suffering.
Remember – we all have choices! The question is: What is yours going to be?