Isn't it astounding that most of us are unconscious of how our bodies operate, and what makes for optimal nutrition? Neither our parents, teachers, nor physicians taught us how to identify nutritional needs and satisfy them. It's time we found out for ourselves, by study and experience, what is fit to eat and what is not.
Can you remember a fresh, nutritionally rich meal, prepared with love and graciously served? The satisfaction of communing with family, friends, and food is immensely rewarding. Eating has a spiritual function, for it fills us with nature's life force. As we digest and assimilate its contents, the essence of our food becomes a part of us.
This leads us to scrutinize the effects of the Pepsi Generation. None of us in the modern world has escaped the impressions that commercialism has made on our psyche and in our bodies. How quickly convenience foods and instant sensory gratificat ion corrode our nutritional morals! Denatured food breeds weak, insensitive, dependent organisms. A 1974 Wall Street Journal headline surmised, Most people have no taste; it's been lost in the process..
Until you are thoroughly sick of self-abuse, you will not make the commitment to be maximally healthy. Nutritional responsibility begins with learning to exercise judgment in matters of diet. For some, it means learning for the first time how to gather , prepare, digest and assimilate food efficiently. Nearly all bad food habits are actually responses to other symptoms, such as depression and fatigue. Moreover, commercial convenience foods merely cover your hunger, without delivering essential nutrients . As hunger becomes craving, need translates into desire, seldom satiated. Dr. Jean Mayer of Harvard University warns, "Enriched junk food is still junk"
This article addresses those people who wish to use sound nutritional principles as a basis for personal healing work. All material is presented as suggestion, not prescription. Use whatever is appropriate for your needs at this time. I emphasize natur al foods and nutritional teachings that you can apply on your own, without great expense or risk.
Nutrition is the art and science of nourishing yourself optimally, and nutritional responsability is a process. Three interconnecting phases will be discussed:
Dietary errors inevitably create a digestive overload which denies the body the nutrients it deserves. Before eating a single bite, consider your habitual eating behavior. Are you shortchanging yourself by carelessness and haste? Do you eat too fast, t oo often or when stressed? Let's face it, we can all pay more attention to our internal rhythm and pace.
The tradition of saying grace before meals is an important and healthy practice. During this brief silence, pressures of the day are released, and gratitude for the gift of food can be expressed. A moment's pause allows blood to drain from your brain a nd to center in the abdomen, thereby stimulating secretions of digestive enzymes in the stomach, small intestine, and salivary glands. Take time for relaxation after a meal as well.
According to Dr. Kurt Donsbach, a great way to correct dietary errors is to exercise 5 minutes before eating. This stimulates the liver and muscle tissues to release glycogen into the blood. This reserve of fuel is oxidized and converted to gluc ose, a simple sugar, which immediately raises the blood sugar level and allays hunger. After exercise, rest a moment, and then take your meal. You'll be less likely to overeat.
The result of dietary excess is digestive overload. An excess is any amount of food that exceeds the body's ability to handle it efficiently, or any food additive or other substance that is foreign to the human body. Excess compels the digestive organs and glands to work overtime. Their complains are registered symptomatically. Diseases of overload include diabetes and hypoglycemia from Carbohydrates, hardening of the arteries from fats, degenerative problems and premature aging from p roteins, and obesity all of the above.
When more food is taken into the body that can be completely metabolized, the excess winds up in the intestinal tract. Undigested matter is ripe for bacterial action, virus, and germ infestation. Germs do not cause disease, but are able to multiply in a sick organism because of disturbed function. Headaches, skin eruptions, depression, and liver ailments are symptomatic of the need for corrective action.
In order to relieve digestive overload, lighten up on food intake and cleanse the intestinal tract. Increase naturally laxative fresh raw foods and pure fluids - either herb tea, mineral broths, fruit, or vegetable juices. Take an enema or colonic, if desired. Add cultured and fermented foods to your diet. Refined foods, alcohol, drugs, sugars, salt, and chemical all retard vigorous digestive action. Natural minerals from foods or supplements, plus vitamin B complex are helpful tonics for weak digestio n and assimilation.
Preparing To Change Your Diet
Preparation is the key to success. A gradual re-education program is always superior to an all or nothing plan. Consider these common-sense guidelines:
Mark Twain said that a habit cannot simply be tossed out the window. Escort it like an old friend, down the stairs, one at a time, and out the door. As old patterns are broken, cravings and feelings of all varieties will emerge. Be gentle with y ourself. Change of any kind is stressful. As toxins are released, suppressed disease symptoms may reappear for short intervals. This is known as a healing crisis. You must cleanse yourself to make way for new growth. Relax your expectations, and co operate with Mother Nature.
Once you feel that you have taken charge of examining yourself to the best of your ability, seek out the advice of one or more health professionals. Laboratory tests are helpful in revealing dietary deficiencies. Hair analysis, computerized dietary eva luation, urine and saliva test, and blood reports give medical and wholistic practitioners data upon which to base recomendations. Books are also valuable resources. Concentrate on those suggestions that seem to adapt to your orientation. If you doubt the benefit of a remedy, it is unlikely to work for you.
Your environment can contribute to your health and nutritional problems, or to its solution. Keep your house clean, with a good circulation of fresh air. Pollens, molds, dust, and animal hair put stress on your digestive and immunological systems. Inve ntory your fabrics, toiltries, foods, and utensils. Synthetic fibers and inorganic metals disintegrate and enter your body through the skin, as well as orally. Use natural goods whenever possible. Drinking pure spring water is also a good idea. Tap water contains many chemicals.
Other helpful hints are: bringing green plants into your home, they increase oxygen and neutralize air pollutants, screening out harsh noises, and learning how to relax. Follow hot water baths and showers with cold rinses, in order to close the pores and stimulate circulation. Also, buy bodycare, detergent and household products that are sugar-free and non-toxic. Lastly, examine your work environment and make it as healthful and nurturing as possible.
Adopting The Right Diet For You.
Adopting a new diet can well be compared with buying a new wardrobe. No matter how stylish an outfit might be, if it doesn't fit, you might as well save your money. A sensible diet is well-coordinated and comfortable, accentuating your heritage, backgr ound, and true nature. Diets that are foreign to one's natural way simply won't be followed through.
A vegetarian-based diet is a good starting point. I suggest vegetarian-based rather than pure vegetarian, because this allows people who eat meat to signigicantly upgrade the vegetable portion of their meal, and minimize their dependence on meat, starc h and sugar.
When preparing fruits and vegetables, scrub the skins with warm, soapy water to remove chemical residue if you are not buying organic produce. The peelings should not be discarded, nor the seeds or structures surrounding them, because they conta in some of the most important components. The apple is a good example: the core, including seeds, contains 20 times as much iodine and other minerals as the rest of the fruit.
Chewing is more important when eating vegetables than when eating meat. Starch digestion begins in the mouth, not the stomach where protein is broken down. The more you chew grains and vegetables, the more alkaline saliva digests them, and the s weeter they taste.
Try eliminating heavy foods from your diet. You can reintroduce them at a later time when your overall health and digestive vitality is stronger. The most common food allergens are the most over-consumed food: milk, eggs, cheese, meat, wheat, potatoes, and corn. Like a field that becomes depleted when only one crop is grown on it, our bodies need a rotation of foods to avoid biochemical imbalances.
What a difference it would make if the majority of people began their day with fresh fruit juice and herbal tea instead of coffee. One successful approach is to introduce new foods and nutritional supplements in combination, rather than one at a time. Coffee seems to be a counterpoint to a diet high in animal products and refined sugars. A breakfast of fresh fruit, granola and yogurt does not call for coffee to complete the meal. Herbal tea naturally complements a simple, yet completely satisfying vege table meal.
Several elements of food combing will help you to avoid complication when making dietary changes. They include eating foods in their raw state or baking and steaming as opposed to frying and boiling, eating the protein food first, eating garlic, ginger, culinary herbs and fresh vegetables they add enzymes and stimulate digestion, eating only one complex carbohydrate at a meal, and drink beverages 30 minutes before or after your meal to avoid washing away digestive enzymes. Also, fruits ar e best when eaten alone, because they interfere with digestion of concentrated protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vegetables. Wait at least one hour after eating before having dessert.
Adherence to these principles promotes efficient digestion and assimilation of foods. If your condition is weak, a mono diet one food at a sitting, or fasting will enable you to direct more inner attention to elimination, rest and recuperation. See a responsible doctor or nutritional consultant if you have serious difficulties.
Nutritional responsibility calls for maturity and self-sufficiency. There are no shortcuts to health. The logical, natural intelligence of the body is increased when it its generously provided high-quality nourishment.
In this article, I have tried to guide you through the process of changing from a traditional modern diet to a modern tradicional one. Don't stagnate! Keep the past behind you as a lesson, a reminder. Move in your own fine way to take greater nutrition al responsibility.
In the words of Lao T'zu, the Taoist poet/philosopher: A journey of 3,000 miles begins with a single step.