I am sure you have heard the phrase “we are what we eat”. I don't entirely agree with this, because there are many aspects to maintaining our health and developing our personality. However, the food we choose to eat is certainly one of the most important aspects of creating the level of health we desire. There is no doubt that, if we consume a balanced diet of whole, healthy foods, we are more likely to maintain a high level of health. If, on the other hand, we choose food that has little or no nutritional value, is high in sugar, loaded with saturated fats, or processed beyond recognition, we will certainly face health challenges as a result.
There are many conflicting and confusing messages in the media about what constitutes a good diet. We have to remember that many of those presenting media reports, even when they claim to have medical or nutritional qualifications, are representing some faction of the food producing industry, and therefore have a vested interest in persuading us to eat the foods they present.
Our human bodies have not significantly changed for over 40,000 years, and so it is
interesting to look at the health status and diet of our hunter/gatherer ancestors. Research over many years has shown us that our ancestors lived for more than 80 healthy years with no degenerative disorders that we can discover. Obviously, they had the advantage of an uncrowded and pristine world, plus a seasonal supply of fresh organic food.
Hunter/gatherers ate large quantities of seasonal vegetables and fruits within one or two days of gathering the food. They did not store, refrigerate or rehydrate vegetables and fruit to make them look good in the supermarket. Our ancestors ate lots of fresh fish, birds’ eggs, and very fresh wild meat when they could catch the animal. Once again, meat was not stored, refrigerated, processed or preserved in any way.
Our healthy ancestors did not eat processed or preserved foods, grains or dairy food.
As humans moved into permanent villages, towns, then cities, and had to provide a food supply chain for this changing world, various forms of food preserving and processing were developed, and the average life span reduced rapidly. We still live, on average, a few less years than our hunter/gatherer ancestors, and face many chronic and degenerative disorders that did not challenge them.
In my clinic, I have seen astounding improvements in my patients’ health as they make significant changes to the way they eat and think about food. Many modern chronic disorders, and our frequent acute disorders are linked, at least in part, to poor dietary practices.
In simple terms, a healthy diet consists of predominantly fresh vegetables, either raw or steamed (occasionally baked or roasted), fresh fruit, fresh and (ethical) canned fish, free range eggs for good protein, very lean meat or chicken in moderate quantities, plus some nuts and seeds. We need to drink around 1.5 litres of pure water each day, plus some vegetable juice, fruit juice, or herbal teas.
Grains of all kinds need to be eliminated as our digestive system uses huge amounts of energy to process them and alleviate the inflammation caused by their lectins. Ancient seeds, or “pseudo grains” such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth are excellent alternatives for grains as these seeds contain good protein, plus quinoa is an excellent source of absorbable calcium. If you enjoy rice, make sure it is black or wild rice, as white/brown rice lacks any nutritional value and turns to sugar in our gut (so more inflammation).
When looking for takeaway food, most Asian food, if wisely selected, is healthier than the high fat/high sugar American-style fast food outlets so common in the Western world. Most good restaurants these days have an excellent selection of healthy foods existing in tandem with their rich “heart disease” type menu.
It is very important to avoid food additives and, especially, artificial sweeteners as these chemicals are extremely toxic. Many cases of multiple sclerosis and motor neuron
disease diagnosed in the United States have been shown to be caused by the consumption of artificial sweeteners. These chemicals can also have a profound adverse effect on people with Parkinson’s. Foods and drinks marked “diet”, “low cal”, “low joule”, “low-fat” or “sugar free” are often quite toxic.
If you wish to explore your individual dieting needs, choose wisely when selecting
someone to speak with. Make sure your chosen practitioner has qualifications in nutrition (at the least four years study) and has a complete understanding of how food affects our physical and mental health and illness. Those graduating from any of the excellent natural medicine colleges in Australia spend many hours researching food constituents and their effect on our body, so naturopaths, herbalists and homoeopaths are often appropriate to advise you on your dietary needs.
If you put rubbish into your body, you will get rubbish out of your body in the form of ill health. If you put excellent food into your body, you will be rewarded with better health, increased energy and a more joyful life.