Nutrition Basics Explained

nutrition

If you look back and examine the trends of health-conscious eating in the past 30 years, you will see that experts have changed their minds more than we care to keep track of on the topic of what we “should” be eating. We have been told to focus on healthy grains, to avoid fat, to focus on high protein, to eat like a caveman, and the list goes on.

Add this to the multitude of “experts” who stand behind specific philosophies like the Zone or the Ornish diet, it’s no wonder people have NO CLUE what to do or even where to start when it comes optimizing their diet. The question becomes what really constitutes an optimal diet and what kind of system can we create to design a frame-work of decision making?

Fundamentally speaking, food is energy and we use the calories in food in conjunction with vitamins and minerals as the co-factors. This balance must be maintained in the context of need, the more calories you consume, the more nutrients you need to help run the energy conversion process. Every cell in the body requires energy to power specific tasks such as detoxification, hormone and neurotransmitter synthesis, regeneration and repair, even digestion and waste removal all require energy to power their actions. This is why when it comes to sitting down to a meal, thinking about what you’re eating is such a profound aspect of your decision making process. To tailor a diet to each person’s individual need would take a consultation with a professional, and that’s also not the point of this article. Rather, I want to give you a guideline of how to best make decisions that optimize your health when it comes to deciding on what you should eat.

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*This article is written by Charles R. Poliquin
Charles R Poliquin is recognized as one of the World’s most accomplished strength coaches who attributes his success to the quest for the “magical training program”. Now as Strength Sensei he shares his acquired knowledge and wisdom with the emerging leaders in the strength and conditioning field. Now after decades of disciplined research and training he has refined his craft so he can educate the dedicated few who want to maximize their learning so they can bring their results back to their athletes. Charles now dedicates his time to educate strength coaches from around the world so they can produce world class athletes.

Recovery from Restrictive Natural Eating

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Whenever any major natural food is avoided in one’s diet for a period of time, a person can lose the ability to digest and process that food. People on all sorts of restrictive natural diets have had this experience when they try to reintroduce carbohydrates, grains, fats, sugars and natural animal products.

When a natural food is eaten regularly, the body secretes the correct digestive enzymes and hormones to help that food be digested and metabolized. People sometimes believe that having a heavy feeling or any digestive discomfort after eating a food indicates that this food is not good for them; when in fact it is actually a signal that a person’s digestive system has been compromised from restrictive eating. This is similar to what happens to an individual suffering from anorexia or orthorexia. They have lost the ability to digest certain foods, but it can and should be regained for optimum health.

For those who wish to add additional foods in to their diet of grains, beans and vegetables such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products or other animal source foods from naturally raised grass fed animals, I suggest the following:

  1. Add natural animal products slowly so that your body gets used to them.
  2. First add more wild fish and naturally raised chicken in your diet. Eat chicken in the form of soup or added to fried rice or stir fries.
  3. Next, add eggs in the form of poached eggs which are easier to digest.
  4. Meats such as beef and lamb have incredibly strengthening effects. Add these in a few times per week after adding in the above foods for a month. At first have them in the form of stews.
  5. Take digestive aides if you feel you need them during this reintroduction process due to compromised digestive function. Digestive enzymes with each meal and Betaine-Hcl half way through the meal for several months can help. Animal products are high in protein. After many months or years of not eating them, the body may lose the ability to produce adequate stomach acid or protease. These supplements help you regain good digestion.
  6. Increase your frequency of animal foods starting at every other day. Then one time daily increasing to 2-3 times daily. Do this slowly. Depending on how long you have been without animal products, many people feel the need to eat them every meal for a period of time after the body gets accustomed to them.
  7. If your diet has been low in fats, add fats in slowly. Slowly increase these in your diet. Fats are needed to absorb fat soluble vitamins, D, E, A and K. Vitamin A is necessary for digestive health. The best fats are natural butter, coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, sesame oil, lard, tallow and other fats from naturally raised animals.
  8. Be sure to still eat grains at each meal and cooked vegetables at least at lunch and dinner. Many people make the mistake of thinking that because they are eating animal foods, they don’t need grains. Grains are essential for a healthy metabolism.
  9. Salt food to taste and add mild spices and herbs to facilitate digestion. Many macrobiotic diet advocates eat an incredibly low salt diet. Adequate salt is needed to produce stomach acids and digestive enzymes.
  10. Add a small amount of pungent foods to meals with natural animal products. These include ginger, garlic, black pepper, horseradish, basil or oregano. These seasonings have been used by traditional cultures to facilitate digestion.
  11. Dairy products from grass fed older varieties of cows such as Guernsey and Jersey make very nutritious and delicious additions to one’s diet. Some people tolerate dairy well. Some don’t. Some people do better with dairy products from goats or sheep. Start with soft dairy products such as yogurt and cream cheese. Raw cheese is easier to digest than cooked cheese because it is rich in enzymes.

Sugars

As I often mention in my lectures, natural sugars have many valuable functions. The amounts and kinds of sugars are quite variable from individual to individual. Sugars were valued by almost all traditional cultures.

Sugars can be eaten in the form of sweeteners such as rice syrup, barley malt, maple syrup, organic molasses, dried cane juice, cooked, raw and dried fruits, and fruit juice. Sugars are concentrated in calories and cause relaxation; the stronger the sugar, the stronger the relaxation effect. If you don’t need very strong relaxation, use the milder sweets such as local fruit, rice syrup, barley malt and dried fruit.

If sugars have not been a regular part of your diet, introduce them slowly. Focus on the milder sweets listed above.

Fats

Fats play a valuable role in your diet. Besides helping to absorb fat soluble vitamins, they aid in the absorption of calcium and magnesium, B vitamins, aid the brain function, are needed for white blood cells production, intestinal function and much more.

When a person’s diet has been very low in fats, they are often not tolerated well when introduced. It is possible that the fat digesting enzyme production has been lowered because the body did not need it due to the low fat consumption.  The solution is to introduce fats slowly. Focus on butter, coconut oil and olive oil.

If there is still trouble digesting fats, be sure to take a digestive enzyme. Vegetarian digestive enzymes are milder in their effects than animal derived ones. For several months, some people need the animal derived digestive enzyme called Pancreatin to boost digestion. Bitter foods like burdock, dandelion and bitter greens such as dandelion leaves, watercress, and mustard greens aid the digestion of fats.

Individual Advice

Suggestions in this article will help many people recover their ability to eat a wide and varied healthy diet and aid in the recovery from overly restrictive natural eating.

In some cases, I have found that people need specialized advice to improve their digestion and overall health in order to digest natural animal foods, sugars and fats.  If this is the case for you, please contact me so that we can set up a long distance or in person consultation to address your individual needs.

*This article was written by John Kozinski. He has been a pioneer natural health teacher, author, and researcher since 1976. Education and diagnostic techniques are rooted in his clinical experience with 40,000+ students and clients. John resigned in 2013 from the Kushi Institute faculty after 27 years. To address catastrophic illness that developed in those following restrictive natural diets John reveals in a new training program his clinical experience and research into what was really working and why for people following popular diets. This education gives teachers, health practitioners, and students new skills to help evaluate and treat a wide variety of health conditions both naturally and complementary to medical treatments. www.macrobiotic.com

Support for the Liver

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The liver is a multi-faceted organ with many diverse functions. It sits in the right upper quadrant of our abdomem and acts as our internal chemist. Our liver is responsible for detoxification, control of the blood sugar, synthesis of blood clotting factors, osmotic balance in our tissues and many other vital functions.

Rudolf Steiner, founder of Anthroposophical medicine, theorized that the liver is the controlling organ of our fluid or life body and in fact in many languages the name for the liver is the same as the word life—I like to call it the “lifer”— for without a healthy functioning liver, life is simply not possible. The fluid body, or in Anthroposophical terms—the etheric body, is like the plant inside of us. (According to Anthroposophical thought the plant body consist of a mineral body taken up into the living sphere, in other words a plant is a living mineral.)

THE INNER PLANT

This inner plant controls how the fluids circulate in the body, preventing fluid congestions, swelling or dryness. This role is evident in cases of severe pathology of the liver, such as liver cancer or cirrhosis, in which one common sign is edema, especially in the legs, or acites which is fluid collection in the abdomen. This happens because the liver is not able to maintain a healthy fluid organism, hence stagnant fluid begins to collect, showing up as edema.

In fact, the unhealthy stagnation of fluid anywhere in the body points to a weakness in the liver. Hay fever or otitis media (middle ear infections) are two examples of disordered fluid organisms which are improved with proper care of the liver.

Another connection of the liver to the plant world can metaphorically be experienced by observing a patient with acute viral hepatitis (inflammation of the liver). In such cases the patient experiences profound fatigue as the “life” forces of the patient are drained. Like a poorly nourished plant with leaves that start to yellow, in the patient with hepatitis, the liver pathology is heralded by the onset of jaundice (yellowing) which is especially noted in the whites of our eyes. In fact, in many traditional medical schemes it is often said that the condition of the liver can be best seen outwardly in the clarity and overall health of the eyes.

Doctors usually get involved with treating the liver when the patient has difficulty with detoxification. This can often be seen by the fatigue of the patient, by the inability to tolerate foods or smells or even the simplest chemical exposures, or sometimes by poor elimination function in the bowels. Chalky white stools are a classic symptom of poor liver function because bile turns the stool brown and bile is the main detoxification “product” of the liver.

TAKING OUT THE GARBAGE

Think of the liver this way: the liver bags the garbage and the bile takes it out to the curb. The garbage is either metabolic waste products that we ourselves produce, or exogenously derived poisons from the outside. Bagging the garbage means that when the liver is exposed to any toxin, its job is to conjugate, or chemically manipulate, the toxin to make it soluble so it can be dissolved in the bile it produces and then flushed out of the body through the bile ducts into the small intestine and then out with the stool. The first phase is called conjugation (bagging up the garbage), the second phase is the elimination phase (taking the garbage out to the curb). With poor liver function, either the garbage doesn’t get bagged properly and unprocessed poisons end up in the circulation, or it doesn’t get taken out and therefore accumulates in the tissues. There are certain tests available that can tell you the intergrity and the integration of how these systems are functioning but in practice they almost always co-exist so it is the best course of action is to treat them both.

There are many factors that will weaken your liver over time. Excessive exposure to environmental toxins is certainly one prominent factor, often in the form of pharmaceutical medicines, many of which need to be cleared, thereby taxing the bagging function of the liver. Statin drugs and Tylenol are two prominent and frequently used drugs that are directly toxic to the liver enzymes responsible for detoxification. Also, poor bowel function and leaky gut syndrome put extra strain on the liver as the contents of the bowel go directly up to the liver to be processed. If the bowel is leaking, the liver is more burdened. In fact, in most diseases care of the detoxification function of the liver is a sound therapeutic move.

TREATMENT

The treatment of the liver always starts with the diet. As well as doing the obvious things like removing as much toxicity as possible by eating only organic or biodynamic foods, the emphasis in the diet should be on greens, the bitter and sour tastes, and the healthy consumption of saturated fats. Protein intake should be low to moderate but healthy raised animal fats should be consumed as tolerated. I tell patients to start every morning with a glass of water with a half of lemon squeezed into the water and then eat some animal fat (especially grass-fed butter or ghee) and greens (such as dandelion greens or the more bitter greens) at every meal. The green color is the most pure reflection of plant life and this stimulates the detoxification processes in the liver. The fats are used by the liver to help make the enzymes that do this detoxification work. The mixture of cod liver oil and butter oil helps to make sure a supply of healthy fats and fatsoluble vitamins is available to nourish your liver.

For medicines, the liver is nourished mostly by plants with a bitter taste, and by therapeutic oils. The best studied plants for liver nourishment include milk thistle and schisandra. These two herbs come together in the Mediherb product called Livco, which has been shown to promote healthy liver function. In fact, milk thistle extract (called silymarin) is used as an intravenous medicine in European hospitals to treat acute poisonings, as with Tylenol overdose. The dose of Livco is one tablet three times per day.

The therapeutic oil to use is the castor oil packs described by Edgar Cayce in many of his readings. Given under a heating pad applied to the liver for two hours, from one to seven times per week, the castor oil stimulates both phases of liver detoxification and is a tried and true medicine for helping all parts of liver function.

There are many other medicines, and bitters and other products that help liver and bile function properly, including coffee enemas which are a proven medicine used by cancer patients all over the world for stimulating liver detoxification.

These suggestions will point you to the way to regain a healthy liver and the vitality that this confers.

*This article is written by Dr. Tom Cowan, and is published in the Weston A. Price Foundation journals.
For more information and sources, please visit the original article.

Arthritis Home Remedies: Healing down to the bones

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In Europe, there was a traditional understanding of food and herbs called “The Doctrine of Signatures”. In “The Doctrine of Signatures”, if a food or herb looked like a part of the body it was good for it. When it comes to bone health, particularly, arthritis, there are some interesting examples of foods that we can recommend and eat that utilizes this doctrine.

Seaweed is a good example of “The Doctrine of Signatures” from the vegetable kingdom. The idea is that when you eat seaweed, your body becomes strong and flexible like the seaweed. The 60-80 minerals and trace minerals strengthen the bones and aid in healing arthritis.

Seaweed can be added to soups. Alaria and wakame are good for this purpose. Broths can be made from kombu or kelp seaweed that can be used as a soup base. Simmer the kelp or kombu for 10 minutes. Use 1, 3-5 inch strip for 4 cups of water. Add 2-3 tablespoons of natural soy sauce to make a delicious broth for noodles like you would get in Japanese restaurants.

If seaweed is not enough for a serious arthritic condition, you may recall your grandmother making bone broths. They are an excellent example of “The Doctrine of Signatures”.  Many cultures enjoyed broths. There are great benefits to drinking bone broths and using them as a base of soups.

Gelatin is the main component of bone broths. Bone broths are rich in calcium and one of the main sources of calcium in the diets of many traditional peoples. Gelatin aids arthritis in many ways. Gelatin is high in many amino acids that are not normally found in diets of people eating more naturally and modern. An amino acid, Proline, is particularly beneficial for the bones.  It helps to regenerate cartilage and heal joints. As added benefits, it reduces cellulite and makes the skin suppler and helps repair a leaky gut.

Bone broths can be made by cooking down the bones of naturally raised animals for many hours. Beef bones take up to 12 hours to cook to remove the good ingredients. Chicken bones can simmer up to 24 hours, while beef or lamb bones may simmer longer. If you are cooking the meat along with the bones, braise it first. A small amount of vinegar or organic wine can be added. This pulls minerals out of the bones.

Great for Hair, Joints and the Digestive System

For those who don’t like cooking the bones because of inconvenience, gelatin powder from naturally raised animals can be purchased from Great Lakes Gelatin Powder available on the net. Make your own jello or add it to soups to get the benefits for your joints, hair and digestive system.

*This article was written by John Kozinski. He has been a pioneer natural health teacher, author, and researcher since 1976. Education and diagnostic techniques are rooted in his clinical experience with 40,000+ students and clients. John resigned in 2013 from the Kushi Institute faculty after 27 years. To address catastrophic illness that developed in those following restrictive natural diets John reveals in a new training program his clinical experience and research into what was really working and why for people following popular diets. This education gives teachers, health practitioners, and students new skills to help evaluate and treat a wide variety of health conditions both naturally and complementary to medical treatments. www.macrobiotic.com