Nutrition

Introduction

Most illnesses are a caused by combinations of stress, exhaustion, lack of good nutrients and poor physical fitness.

e.g. Heart spasms are not primarily caused by bloodclots, but by a combination of stress, poor physical fitness, and poor nutrition (deficiency of magnesium, excess of calcium, sugar, fat, protein, and salt).

Your diet is more important than most people think. Have balanced meals, to include: Fresh fruit and vegetables (for vitamins, minerals and roughage), carbohydrates (for energy), proteins (for cell replacement) and a little oil (no fat).

Today, whole new forms of medecine are being developed based on the principles of 'prevention' by taking the 'whole human being' in consideration,with the emphasis on lifestyle and nutrition. These 'Alternative Medicins' are therefore holistic, and in direct contradiction with 'Traditional Medicin', which is based on treatment by drugs and operation, essentially independent of a person's lifestyle, environment, or eating habits. These two types of medicin are at loggerheads and call each other 'Quacks'. Yet, both of them have good results, as they are really complementary.

Air

We cannot live without air. But our Quality of Life depends on the quality of the air we breathe.

It is almost inconceivable that we allow ourselves to breath in air contaminated with so many pollutants: acids, nitrous oxides, lead, sulphur dioxide, smoke, just to name a few. That is even discounting the pollutants we used to permit workers to inhale, such as asbestos, silica, and a host of other industrial emissions.

We don't take care of our car exhausts, our chimney exhausts, and voluntarily inhale primary or secondary tobacco smoke. We don't think anything of it, until we or our children develop asthma, or emphysema, or when the doctor come to tell us that we have only six more months to live. When our Quality of Life is being diminished because of the poor air we have been breathing for too long, and it is too late to set the clock back.

Another air problem that has been brought to light in the past 15-20 years is the fact that we usually breath too shallowly. Especially when we are stressed or concentrated on our work. Working on computers has made us aware of the need to take a break every hour, at least, and take some deep breaths. Aerobic exercise has been found essential to provide that air we need to manage good combustion of our food. Poor combustion least to free radicals, which are partially oxidised molecules that are linked to cancer. We will explore exercise more in the next chapter.

Water

A human being consists for 95% of water.

Almost all said about air goes for water. Our main sources of drinking water are polluted. Most of them have carcinogenic substances in them that will accumulate in the liver of unsuspecting people. Unlike the waters polluted with faecal matter as in many underdeveloped countries, we cannot get away from it by replacing water with beer, since beer is made from the same water.

Water is needed to keep everything in our body moving that includes the nutrients as well as the intoxicants. We need to drink enough water per day to keep out kidneys flushed and to prevent build up of salts, causing kidney stones and other illnesses. Dehydration causes headaches and can be fatal. e.g. Especially when exercising heavily and when drinking alcoholic beverages we need to drink a lot of water.

Sugar

Sugar is one of the greatest addictive poisons known to mankind, yet we all eat it in great quantities. Now I got your attention, I must qualify this statement. Normally, when we refer to sugar we mean white refined sugar, saccharose. And this is indeed the main but not the only culprit.

Today, the average North American (including Canadians!!!) consumes over a 100 pounds of sugar per year. A hundred years ago that was only 10 pounds, and 500 years ago, that was less than a pound, and only for the rich people. Our bodies are not designed to digest such large quantities of sugar.

When we eat sugar it will break down into one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose. The latter calls immediately for large quantities of insuline. This disturbs the insulin balance. Therefore, we should count all 'simple sugars' doing the same, such as: brown sugar, honey (which are both saccharose), maltose (in beer), lactose (in milk). Also recognize that the sugars in some fruits that are high in saccharose or glucose, while others are high in fructose.

If, on the other hand, we eat 'complex carbohydrates', such as starches, grain products (bread, pasta, cereals), potatoes, corn, these will break down very slowly, and release only small quantities of glucose at one time. These foods do not disturb the insulin balance, because they provide glucose continuously in only small quantities. One word of caution: 'Cereals' does not mean 'breakfast cereals', because the latter are processed foods which contain as much as 60% pure white sugar!!!

Insuline Balance

Why are we so concerned about the insulin balance?
Glucose provides us with energy. Our brains function only on glucose. Insulin is a hormone made by the 'Islands of Langerhans' in the Pancreas, designed to break down glucose to liberate its energy. (Small quantities of Zinc in the diet are needed to make insulin).

If we overload the system with white sugar, we will get an overload of insulin. The body cannot regulate it so precisely and usually overshoots, i.e. puts too much insulin in the blood stream. This has two major effects: It causes the blood sugar level to drop below normal, and it causes fats to be stored instead of burned. The first effect may cause mood swings and headaches, the second may cause obesity.

A third effect is long term: If we keep overworking our insulin production, the hormone gland will enlarge, and eventually quit working. When that happens we have what is called 'diabetes'. When that happens our blood sugar level will go up upon eating sweets, and stay up, causing a variety of symptoms, which if not controlled may spell death.

Blood sugar levels, today, are easy to measure, using a test kit purchased in the drugstore. Warning: It does require 'drawing blood'. The test requires blood sugar levels to be measured over a period of 6 hours. Initially every half hour, then every full hour. The sugar level is then plotted, and the diagnosis made. Unless the gland is destroyed, no insulin is produced, and the blood sugar level stays up after eating sugar, the curve can be controlled by eliminating sugar in the diet.

To me the safest is to cut out the sugar, never mind the testing!

Fats and Oils

Chemically speaking oils and fats are very similar, they are triglycerides. However, fats are saturated triglycerides and oils are mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated triglycerides. Physically, that means that fats are hard and oils are liquid. When hydrogenating an oil, the unsaturated part becomes saturated (with hydrogen) and the oil becomes a solid fat.

Animal fats also contain cholesterol. This has a very complex molecule, very similar to many hormones. Physically, it is a solid fatty substance.

Solid fats are believed to clog the arteries, therefore cause high blood pressure. The latter is hard on the heart, which gets tired of pumping against these clogged arteries and gives out. Clogging is also helped by milk and sugar, which creates a sticky substance, not unlike ice-cream, that coats the artery walls and traps the fats.

When not burned, fats will also accumulate under the skin, resulting in obesity. This gives excess weight and an additional load on the heart.

If sufficient amounts of complex carbohydrates are present fats will be burned, but if refined sugars are present, fats will be stored (See above).

Oils in small quantities do not seem to be problematic. Olive oil and especially fish oils are very healthy. The latter has been reported as helping to clean out the arteries from animal fats. Oils tend to keep the skin supple, but only in the absence of sugar and hard fats.

The Cholesterol Story

The information on cholesterol has changed considerably over the past 60 years. Even though it was known that animal cholesterol is broken down in the body and that cholesterol that is measured in the blood is 'human cholesterol' generated by our own bodies, scientists were not certain about the roles they each played. They knew that animal fat was bad for us and that animal meat caused plaques in the arteries, but they blamed it all on the cholesterol they were measuring in heart patients.

Over the past 20 years a lot of new information has come out that is showing us the real role of cholesterol and above all the benefits of cholesterol.

The first lesson learned was that HDL choleserol is not bad for us and that cholesterol containing egg yolkes specifically are very good for us. The latter contain a multitude of nutrients plus all the ingredients to build our hormones. People eating an egg a day were found to be much healthier and having a much better skin than those who avoided eggs.

The next lesson learned was that the plaque, even though it may contain a little cholesterol conists mainly of a mixture of hard fats (= saturated and trans fats) and iron gluconate (= trivalent iron and a breakdown product of sugar). People drinking milk were much more likely to develop plaques than those drinking wine and green tea, which contain tannine, which picks up the iron. Green tea, containing bivalent iron appeared to be better than roasted tea which contained trivalent iron. More recently excess blood calcium has been implicated in arterial deposits..

And then finally came the clincher. We already knew that the body generates cholesterol, when it is under stress and shoots in adrenaline. But before, we only thought that this was a way to get food to the critical areas. Now we found out that cholesterol plays a major role in the healing process. Thus the cholesterol was NOT the CAUSE, but the EFFECT of the heart disease. We are now finding that people with high cholesterol are healing faster than those whose cholesterol is suppressed. Not only HDL but also LDL cholesterol, even though we don't yet understand the mechanism, the message is very clear: we have been doing the wrong thing in trying to suppress cholesterol.

Simultaneously, it was found that it is red animal meat, not fowl or fish meat was setting the scene for plaques by causing damage to the arteries and initiating sites of 'roughness' where the plaque can start developing.

So, what we should be suppressing instead is red meat, saturated and trans fats, milk, sugar and ferric (oxidised) iron, while promoting vegetables with ferrous (green) iron, fish, fowl, eggs, and unsaturated and semi-saturated oils from fish and vegetables. If we don't eat oils, our body will retain much of the cholesterol, driving the total cholesterol up.

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals in micro quantities are needed for good nutrition. They usually work in tandem. e.g. Bones require Calcium, but Calcium will only metabolize if there is a fine balance with Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Vitamin D. Excess phosphorus (e.g. from soft drinks) could cause calcium to leach out of the bones.

In stead of in the bones, Calcium can deposit on the joints, causing an arthritic type of pain. Adding Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2, and Magnesium to the diet can reverse that.
Vitamin D3 is needed to deposit the Calcium in the bones, while Vitamin K2 is needed to keep the Calcium concentration of the blood low.
High levels of blood Calcium can affect the heart rhythm and cause more deposits in the arteries and in the joints.

Magnesium also provides the conductivity needed for the nerves. This helps to prevent irregular heartbeat and fibrillation that appear with high blood calcium.

Most of us know that vitamin A is needed for good vision. Few know that excess vitamin A is toxic. The same is true for many minerals and vitamins. Therefore, it is wise to stick to the standard amounts. The only exception maybe vitamin C. This is an anti-oxidant and very useful when under stress.

Ferric Iron has recently been quoted as combining with glucose and precipitating as ferricgluconate in the arteries.
According to some a major hazard, contributing to hardening of the arteries.
Remember, there is a lot of ferric iron in meat and blood. I don't know how serious this is, but it is worthwhile considering.


However, ferrous Iron may be all-right, provided it is in small quantities.

While Ferric Iron is strongly yellow to orange (as seen in urine, which is coloured mainly by Ferric Iron),
Ferrous Iron is light to dark green (Found in fresh green and white vegetables)
Ferrous Iron is needed to make fresh blood cells. It is part of the hemoglobin molecule that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of our body.
Ferric Iron cannot do this, it is discarded as the blood cells break down.

Vegetables

If you eat a good variety and substantial quantity of vegetables and fruits, you will probably get most of the vitamins and minerals you need. So, you can take it easy with the supplements. But do eat your veggies!

Apples and vegetable also provide roughage, bulk. This is needed to keep your bowels moving.

Vegetables can be classified in 5 categories:

Proteins

Proteins are found in animal products and some vegetables. They are the substance flesh is made of. Proteins consist of strings of aminoacids. Animal flesh is not the same as human flesh. Proteins get broken down in the body into their building blocks, the amino acids. Then the body builds its own specific proteins from the amino acids, in a different order than they were in the protein we ate.

Some aminoacids can be made inside our body, but there are 8 essential aminoacids that our body cannot make and must come from food. If one wants to avoid animal products, it is critical that a full complement of essential aminoacids be consumed. Most of these can be found in 'legumes', i.e. beans and peas. Two of them are sulphur containing proteins that are hard to find in vegetable products.

One egg a day will provide all the proteins you need, yet will not screw up your blood pressure, unless you are a beef eater. The egg yellow has many essential nutrients and sulphur containing amino acids. Its cholesterol does not cause high blood cholesterol readings, instead it helps to provide building blocks for our hormones.

In general, it is best to take it easy on meat. Preferably, eat little or none. Beef contains a large percentage of hard fat (lard), and a large amount of ferric iron. Both are contributors to high blood pressure. Beef can also contribute to obesity. Recently, beef has been implicated in 'Mad Cow Disease' as a deadly illness that has affected people in the UK. English beef has been exported to most European countries. Well done beef and especially charred beef has been implicated in colon cancer.

Fish is a much better choice, especially when lightly broiled. Tofu is another good vegetarian source of protein. When over 22 years of age, avoid drinking milk. Take yoghurt instead. Many people have a lactose intolerance, but in all of us, lactose will change into glucose when broken down in the body. Obese people should avoid excess animal fats. That includes milk, milk products, and meat.

The quantity of protein needed varies from person to person, but in most cases 50-100 grams per day is plenty. Excess protein should be avoided, since the excess aminoacids will break down further into urea and uric acid. These must be eliminated through the kidneys and are likely to result in bladder or kidney stones. They also deposit on the joints, causing a form of arthritis (Gout). Excess protein may also result in allergic sensitivity to some specific high protein foods.

Excess protein may be noticed by high alkalinity (pH) of the urine. Vegetables bring the pH down. Therefore, low vegetables tend to raise the pH also, while more vegetables can help balancing the pH.

Fiber & Weight loss

The origin of todays main source of understanding weightloss is the research of Dr. Denis Burkitt, a renowned British physician, who published a report in 1970 pertaining to fiber.
See:
http://www.cpmc.org/advanced/pediatrics/patients/topics/fiber-facts.html

Please be warned against the hazards of weight loss prescription drugs, because of serious side effects, such as elevated blood pressure, breast cancer, diarrhea, intestinal leakage, disturbed insuline leves, type-2 diabetes.
(An exception may be an Indian herb Garcinia cambogia - hydroxy citrate, of which no side efects are know at this time).

It is suggested that in addition to the fruits and vegetables quoted in the article above, one can supplement with

In case of using supplements, they recommend to add these slowly. i.e. not too much in the beginning, but building up a dosage over time. The idea of supplements is to provide bulk that stills hunger and reduces sugar absorption.

If one eats carbohydrates or sugar that has been stripped of its fiber, the body will think it is starving and store the sugar in the form of fat. This is typically the case with white bread, white rice, white sugar and pop.

Bulk also affects the digestion of fat. Similarly, oil is better than fat. But oil in whole peanuts is better than peanut oil on its own. Animal fats are worst, as they have no way of being masked and are solid to begin with.

The best benefit from fiber is that when your stomach is full, you are not hungry, while your caloric intake is low.
Drinking pop does the opposite, including diet pop: It makes you thirsty for more sugar.

Dieting can make your body think that it is starving and store MORE fat. While eating and filling your stomach may do the opposite.

If you are an emotional eater, then you can try 3 'natural herbs' that may help reduce the anxiety food binge:

Toxic Substances

We have already mentioned sugar, and animal fat (oil is OK). Stress, milk, ferric iron, and fat have all been implicated in high blood pressure. Nicotine from tobacco stimulates the heart while narrowing the blood vessels, thus also increasing the blood pressure. Its addiction comes from the pressured feeling in the head after it wears off and the vessels in the brain re-expand. Tar from tobacco is carcinogenic. Other stimulants such as coffee, tea, and sugar may affect blood pressure as well, as they widen blood vessels, while increasing the heart rate.

High blood pressure leads to aneurysms which may burst or blood clots, which may cause strokes or heart failure.
All burned products are carcinogenic: that includes toast, burnt steak, and caramel colouring in coke and other products.

Sleeping pills and tranquilizers may lower your resistance by affecting your REM sleep. Excess alcohol must also be avoided as it not only affects your REM sleep, but also destroys your liver and brain cells. Reduced REM sleep becomes evident by excessive dreaming and a hang-over feeling. Excess is considered anything over ounce of hard liquor/day, the equivalent of one 16 ozs beer or one 4 ozs wine. Recently, MSG has been implicated in Obesety. It makes foods addictive!

General Nutrition

The first recommendation is to read the labels of any processed food. Sugar comes under many names: Sugar, saccharose, glucose, dextrose, molasses, honey, brown sugar, maltose, lactose, mono-saccharides, disaccharides. Soft drinks contain 35-60% sugar. Breakfast cereals also contain from 35-60% sugar. That will not sustain you and you will go hungry fairly soon after you eat them. Some soft drinks, e.g. cola drinks, contain 15 -35% phosphoric acid. That is hard on the calcium balance.

Next, is to eat balanced meals. That means plenty of complex carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruits, together with small amounts of protein and oil. Every meal should be balanced and complete. Not one with carbohydrates, another with protein, and another with vegetables. If you take vitamins and minerals, these should be taken just after the meal, as they digest faster and need to be available when the food is digested, not before.

Don't burn or overcook the food. Burned food is carcinogenic, and overcooked vegetables are hard to digest and have lost all the vitamins. Remember to take it easy on proteins and especially on red meat and milk. Substitute with vegetable proteins and small amounts of fish.

Finally, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is still valid today. They also give you tons of vitamins and minerals.

Please, do keep up-to-date with health literature, it will teach you more than I could possible paste up here. Also remember there are many different opinions out there, many contradicting each other. If you don't learn, you can easily get swayed to the side of the least resistance.


Back to where we left off in QOL, 'Exercise and Rest'.

Or back to where we left off in, 'Stress Management' .

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