By Luc Chaltin, ND DIHom
Nutrition is the most important factor in the preservation of your health and the prevention of diseases. Good quality, healthy food was readily available when the environment was unpolluted and nature had its way to grow the crops naturally. Such an environment existed everywhere on the earth before the era of chemical pollution began some 150 years ago. At the time dangerous chemicals were introduced into the food, another dangerous procedure called “refining” was put in place by our industrialized society. It was done to make the food tastier and more attractive, but the ignorant scientists of that time, AND FROM OUR TIME AS WELL, failed to see the danger created by this kind of manipulation that robbed the food of its most essential, life-sustaining elements.
Both procedures, the adding of chemicals to the food and the robbing of vitamins, minerals and trace elements from it, are the most powerful factors in the creation of diseases today. Too few nutritionists or doctors warn against the danger of these practices. At the same time, it has become very difficult to correct these mistakes because they are part of our everyday life. The procedures are accepted as normal, and have resulted in huge financial investments and interests that dominate the market.
People die prematurely because of poor food and they are not even aware that the food is causing it. We are told that food has nothing to do with health or that the poisoned food is good for us to eat. “You need protein for your body” claim the advertisements. But what about the origin of that protein? Does it come from a healthy chicken, or is the chicken given chemically grown food and hormones to grow faster, or antibiotics to keep it alive? Where can we still find good quality food?
Originally, nature provided all creatures, including mankind, with natural food. “What is healthy food meant to be?” and “How can nature provide it for all the creatures on the planet?” are the questions we ought to ask ourselves. The answers to these questions can allow us to return to our roots in nature and become truly healthy.
The Big Operation Called “Life”
All life on earth is part of the so-called “food chain.” This is possible because all living creatures, bacteria, algae, plants and animals, including humans, need practically the same substances to live and multiply. Life is sustained by providing food in a succession of creatures, called the “food pyramid.” At the base of the food pyramid are the bacteria and algae, serving as food for insects and small fish that serve as food for bigger animals, and so continuously up the pyramid to mankind.
But from the base on, there is an important difference in the life forms. Some are able to create food from the minerals in the soil and the light from the sun. These life forms include the plants and some species of algae, that exist in mono-cellular form, as well as evolved forms such as grasses and trees. Because plants are the only life form that can create food from the minerals of the soil and the light of the sun, all life depends on them to sustain itself. If these plants are polluted by the chemicals in the water and the chemicals in the soil, no life depending on them (plants) will be healthy, even if the plants themselves seem to survive on these chemicals. UNDERSTAND THAT MOST OF THE FOOD GROWN BY OUR MODERN AGRICULTURE IS MISSING THE LIFE-SUSTAINING QUALITY OF A BALANCED, NATURALLY GROWN PLANT.
We said before that living creatures could serve as food for other living creatures. This is possible because all living creatures are composed of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and trace minerals. In order to sustain life in a creature, ALL THESE ELEMENTS ARE INDISPENSABLE; EVEN IF ONLY ONE OF THEM IS MISSING, DISEASES OCCUR. REMEMBER THAT OUR FOOD INDUSTRY IS REMOVING ESSENTIAL SUBSTANCES BY REFINING THE FOOD (white bread, sugar, most pastries, with the exception of those made with organic milled flour) AND DEGRADING THE QUALITY FURTHER BY ADDING “3000” DIFFERENT CHEMICAL ADDITIVES TO THE REFINED FOOD.
I believe that this is foolish and extremely dangerous to our health. It is unimaginable that our society allows these procedures to happen, without warning the people of the possible consequences. That this can happen is made possible by the fact that most scientists neglect to warn of the danger, even if some of them know about it. “Officially,” everything is right and this “official” standpoint will only be changed if the public is informed and demands that a change be made.
How Modern Diseases Are Generated
The reason why these chemicals are dangerous and become toxic in the body is that they were never available to plants in such amounts and forms. For instance, if too much nitrogen fertilizer is used, the plant will absorb the compounds and store them in the form of nitrites. Nitrites are toxic substances for animals and humans and cause digestive problems and dangerous inflammatory diseases in the body.
The list of toxic reactions in humans caused by chemical fertilizers and toxic additives in the food is almost endless and continues to grow daily. The longer we and our children eat this food, the more we become weak and sick, and vulnerable to their effects.
These toxins are the cause of a long list of metabolic diseases that have no “officially” known causes. Of course, the causes are known by lots of practitioners of alternative health methods, but they have little or no voice in the mainstream literature and press. Hence, their knowledge goes unnoticed and the “kermess diabolique,” as a French researcher put it in the 1960s, goes on. This ignorance kills more and more people every day.What may be more tragic is that the ignorance makes more and more people suffer from painful, degrading diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, AIDS and Alzheimer’s, to name only a few.
The removing of essential nutrients, especially vitamins, minerals and trace minerals is another major factor in creating diseases. These substances are necessary for the body to perform the life-sustaining operations, such as digestion, respiration, excretion of toxins, secretion of hormones and every other function the body must perform to create a healthy and happy individual.
Vitamins, minerals and trace minerals are a necessary part of the composition of enzymes. ENZYMES ARE THE TOOLS OF LIFE. EVERY FUNCTION IN THE BODY IS PERFORMED BY ENZYMES, and EVERY ENZYME DEPENDS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY ON THE PRESENCE OF VITAMINS, MINERALS AND TRACE MINERALS. If just one of them is absent, the individual will eventually succumb, because the body cannot function if even just one element is missing.
The body is capable of adapting and can operate for long periods of time with element deficiencies. However, the body will only survive as long as it can use the stored element that is missing in the food, but as soon as that element is used up completely, the body will become deathly sick. Without the elements, premature cell breakdown occurs. Without minerals, vitamins may have little or no effect. Minerals act as catalysts for enzymes; without the catalysts, enzymes cannot react, affecting caloric, protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake. In sum, the elements are dependent on each other for digestion.
These so called deficiency diseases are very common in our civilized society. The diseases are covered up by the fact that in a deficient body, a host of bacteria and viruses eventually develop that are mistakenly taken for the “cause” of death. In other cases, death is said to be caused by “unknown” factors. In cases where the cause is known, it is often said that it is an infection, such as the flu, or pneumonia, or high fever.
BUT WHY IS IT THAT THE BODY IS NOT ABLE TO DEFEND ITSELF AGAINST THESE DISEASES? This question IS NEVER ANSWERED IN THE CASE OF THE “KNOWN” CAUSE OF INFECTION, be it bacteria or viruses. Can modern medicine explain why some people escape death by infection and others die from the same agent? The reason is simple: The ones that escape have a body with a good defense system and their food contains all the elements that are needed to sustain that defense system.
Don’t confuse your defense system with your immune system. They are not the same. YOUR REAL, FIRST LINE, MOST POWERFUL DEFENSE SYSTEM IS THE HEALTHY STATE OF EVERY CELL IN YOUR BODY SO THAT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM DOES NOT EVEN HAVE TO INTERFERE FOR YOUR PROTECTION. If there is no cure for cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer (and a cure for these diseases, other than prevention, will probably never be found), the relatively simple approach is to PREVENT these diseases. The best cure for a long list of diseases, in fact ANY disease, is prevention. And that prevention is greatly strengthened by a HEALTHY DIET.
What Is Healthy Food?
The confusion about nutrition is visible when the topic of “HEALTHY FOODS” is brought up. Most people are aware that eating a diet that excludes vegetables and fruits is not healthy. But the problem does not begin here. The first necessity is that whatever food we eat, should be natural. In other words: without chemicals.
We explained before that all living creatures, plants and animals, need basically the same components to grow and sustain life: protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and trace minerals. These different components are not present in the same amounts in every life form (plants or animals). The needs of different life forms for each of these six components are not the same either.
That means that in order to know what we, humans, may call a healthy food, we should know our specific needs, and also what quantities of each of the six components our food contains. First of all, we have to know the role and the importance of all six food components. We will explain that before we go farther.
Protein is a complex substance, composed of amino acids. Amino acids are composed of carbohydrates with one or more added nitrogen molecules. The body can produce certain amino acids by transforming them from one kind into another, but there are about 10 amino acids that we need to find in our food because the body cannot produce them. These are called “essential amino acids.” The quality of a protein is determined by the amount of every essential amino acid it contains.
The role of protein is to build new cells to grow or to replace the old cells that have died and to produce vital substances in the body, such as enzymes and hormones. The need for protein is about 20 to 30 grams a day (2/3 to 1 oz). This may vary widely because of the difference in individual metabolism.
Protein is digested primarily in the stomach because an acidic environment is needed to start the protein breakdown process. A protein rich diet, composed primarily of meat, may cause stomach ulcers because of the high amount of acid that needs to be produced.
Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids. This is found in eggs, meat, fish and dairy products. All these proteins are not equal in quality for reasons that have to do with digestibility and the vitamin, mineral and trace mineral content of the food. Eggs, dairy products and fish are the easiest to digest. Dairy products are poor in vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals, especially in the form of cheese. The best animal protein is fish, and in second place, eggs. Meat includes red meat and poultry. Poultry is more digestible than red meat.
Vegetable protein is available in all vegetables and grains but not in fruits, except for nuts. Legumes, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and soybeans are rich in protein, and soybean can contain even more protein than meat. In order to have complete protein with a vegetable diet, we need to combine two or more foods, e. g. rice and beans. Some grains such as millet have an almost complete set of essential amino acids.
Soybeans are very rich in protein, and also contain fat and carbohydrates. This makes them difficult to digest for weak patients. Soybeans should be eaten sparingly, if at all. Tofu, which is only fat and protein and nothing else, is a burden for the digestive system in people suffering from allergies and with weak digestion and should only be eaten as a delicacy (occasionally, e. g. soy drink) and not as a regular source of protein. Protein is transformed into glucose if more than what is needed is eaten. Protein produces 4 calories per gram.
Fats and Oils
Fat is high in calories (9 calories per gram) and very poor in vitamins, minerals and trace minerals. We should limit fat intake, especially if suffering from allergies or bad digestion. Some fats, such as Omega 3 and 6, are essential for the body and we need small quantities of them regularly; these fats are mostly found in fish. Nuts are high in fat. The best fats and oils to use in the kitchen are olive oil and butter in moderation, provided that the butter is of organic quality. Sesame oil, and other vegetable oils are also good, but animal fat is not acceptable, except for small quantities in animal products.
Carbohydrates should furnish the bulk of our calories (4 calories per gram), as “complex carbohydrates.” Complex carbohydrates are all the vegetable foods that are eaten like they are grown, without refining. Examples are whole wheat bread (but not white bread), rice, oats, potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, etc. Avoid so-called “refined” foods because the processing causes a loss of vitamins, minerals and trace minerals and toxic additives are added at the same time.
The most devastating example is the production of white bread. It is a very poor food (called “empty calories,” meaning that it doesn’t contain the original vitamins, minerals or trace minerals any longer) and is stuffed with chemicals to bleach the flour, raise the dough and color the crust. Dangerous chemical pesticides and fungicides are added when the regular grain is stored in big silos, to keep it free of bugs and molds. Organically grown grains are stored in small silos and kept free from insects and molds by mechanical treatment, such as entoleters and ventilators, so that no harmful chemicals are necessary.
Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Minerals
These nutrients are necessary for life to sustain itself. If our food doesn’t contain them, or an insufficient amount is supplied by the food, or if some of the necessary elements are lacking, we deplete the reserves in our body and soon become sick and die.
There is no question that we need to find all of the vitamins, minerals and trace minerals in our food. The body is unable to produce any of them, except for a small quantity of vitamin D, which is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight.
Again, chemical farming reduces the amounts of these nutrients significantly and this is another major reason that we should prefer organically grown food. But even then there is another concern, namely the depletion of our soils. This affects the mineral content of organically grown products. The farmer needs to supplement his soil with pulverized rock, lava dust, azomite, sea weed, or any other natural source of minerals, to correct the soil depletion.
It is not my intention to list all the vitamins, minerals and trace minerals that the body needs. There are many specialized books about the subject, understandable for even the lay person, if you want to know the details. The problem is that all the substances that the body needs to stay, or to become healthy, have not yet been discovered and this makes it impossible to determine exactly what you should eat or supplement.
Therefore, the safest rule that should guide your choice of food is to CHOOSE IT AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE AND CONSUME IT IN A STATE THAT IS AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE TO IT’S ORIGINAL FORM. Don’t eat “refined” foods. Eat the foods in their entirety as much as possible.
To make clear what we mean we will give an example. Potatoes are often peeled with a paring knife before cooking. The layer right under the skin contains the most important nutrients present in the potato and they are thrown away if the pealing is done before cooking. Instead, cook the potatoes with the skin and peel them after cooked, when it is possible to take off the skin only and leave the nutrients in place.
Cook vegetables in as little water as possible and use the cooking water to make a sauce or refrigerate it to use later in a soup. Steam the vegetables instead of cooking them. Make salads so that you have a portion of raw vegetables every day. All these precautions will help to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients in the food you eat.
Should We Stop Cooking Our Food?
If the temperature at which cooking takes place is destroying the vitamins, enzymes and other nutrients in the food, why should we continue to cook our food? There have always been fervent protagonists of a raw food diet as a way to preserve health in the human race. And indeed, we are the only creatures on our planet to eat cooked food. All other life forms eat exclusively raw food. The dedicated people that promote raw food are generally strong and healthy and a good advertisement for their cause. Unfortunately, not every human is able to live on such a diet.
In fact, we need the cooking to be able to digest our food. Civilization brought on a weakening of our enzymes. We are no longer able to attack and digest the cellulose of the cell walls in vegetables, so that most of the intact cells leave the body like they entered it if the cells are not crushed by the process of chewing.
This leads us to an important conclusion: We need to chew our food carefully in order to be able to digest it properly. And that is not only needed for the vegetables but also for all the carbohydrates because their digestion starts in the mouth where they are mixed with the saliva.
If we need to cook our food, what happens to the vitamins and enzymes? If the cooking time is kept as short as possible, most vitamins, except vitamin C, will survive. The problem with minerals and trace minerals is that they partially dissolve in the cooking water and will be lost if we don’t use the water.
The overall conclusion about cooking, based on the long experience of the human race in this matter, is that the contents of a healthy food, after cooking, is practically the same as when the food was raw, except for the vitamin C and the enzymes. A healthy person is able to use the cooked food, rich in all kinds of nutrients, to transform it into suitable components for his or her own body.
The problem is different for some sick or weak patients that may lack the necessary enzymes and vitality to do the transformation. For these cases, a very prudent search for the foods that are tolerated is necessary and the diet will include some cooked and some raw foods that suit their needs. These diets will be different for almost every patient and are based upon the individual capabilities of their digestion. For instance, we know about a case where a deathly sick patient survived for months on a diet that was composed almost exclusively of small quantities of (nearly organic quality) cow’s milk, some lettuce without any seasoning and some dates. It is a relatively complete diet, but far from ideal. However, the patient survived on this diet.
A similar problem may arise with a detoxifying diet. Such a diet is mandatory for vegetarians. Weak, underweight patients also have to be detoxified by such a diet, even if they have a bad amino acid balance. They will improve on the vegetarian detoxifying diet up to a point where they become strong enough to digest animal protein. At that moment, they will start to crave animal protein because their bodies want to balance the amino acids. If their digestive system has improved, they will be able to digest animal protein, such as fish and eggs in small quantities, and strengthen their bodies rapidly. If their digestive system is not very strong they need to be very careful and only eat small quantities of animal protein at a time. At the same time homeopathic remedies should be given to help their digestive function. In some cases, food combining techniques are helpful.