Diet fuels our bodies and minds
Despite the general increasing awareness of the importance of diet and nutrition, it is still an area that is often overlooked or undervalued with regard to the role it plays in our health.
The numerous conflicting opinions and publicized research leaves many people unsure of what guidelines they should be following. It is common place now that on one day we read something is good for us and on the following day it is reported that it can be damaging for our health. Interpreting this information can often lead to confusion as to what we should and shouldn’t be doing with regards to our diet.
At ML we believe in demonstrating that the best dietary and nutritional choices can be made in the vast majority of cases through following logical and common sense options. We aim to help offer you simple and balanced dietary guidelines focused on optimising the healing potential of your body.
When stripped back to basics, health is dependent on the optimal functioning of our cells. When cells work optimally individually and together then the result will be health and vitality for the body.
In order to function cells must have an ample supply of the raw materials that they require and be free from any toxins that may have a detrimental effect on their ability to metabolise or function.
To understand what is healthy for us we therefore need to be able to answer the following questions:
– What are the nutritional requirements for a cell to be healthy?
– What is nutritionally toxic to cells?
– Are nutritional deficiencies and toxicities common?
– What dietary choices are needed to create sufficiency?
– What dietary choices are needed to create purity?
Our genetic makeup has not changed significantly since the origin of modern humans. Evolution shows us that genetics develop to allow us to survive in a specific environment and whilst our genes have not changed our environment has been altered beyond recognition. The agricultural and industrial revolutions have left the individual with less access to healthy, natural and un-processed foodstuffs and exposed to numerous environment stressors or toxins. These may come in the form of environmental pollution, highly processed and unnatural food additives and excessive exposure to toxins such as alcohol and tobacco.
The main difference between our healthy ancestors and our modern day sick society is TOXICITY and/or DEFICIENCY. In other words we are either toxic with things that inhibit the normal function of our cells or deficient in the raw materials that are required for normal healthy cell function.
Dietary and nutritional guidance therefore must offer steps we can take to create PURITY and SUFFICIENCY allowing our cells to express their natural genetic healthy state.
Studies show that healthy indigenous tribes ate quite differently to the modern humans not only in the actual food types but importantly in theratios between foods.
Modern western diet includes elements such as flavourings, colourings, sweeteners, salt, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, MSG (and anything else man-made) which would never feature in the natural environment of our tribal ancestors. However it is also the bulk of our foodstuffs that have changed beyond recognition including a huge intake of white flour (grains), sugar and dairy.
Whilst many of us are aware of the danger of high sugar intake, it is still seen as more controversial to claim that grains and dairy are detrimental to your health even though more and more research evidence is mounting
Below are some explanations of some of the negative impacts of our most commonly consumed foodstuffs and we hope it provides a useful insight.
For many years guidelines have suggested that grains should provide the bulk of our diet (remember the ‘food pyramid’ we were taught at school). However studies have shown that our healthy hunter-gatherer ancestors ate very little, if any, refined grains.
A world renowned expert in paleolithic nutrition has extensively researched this area and wrote in his paper entitled ‘Cereal grains: humanities double edged sword’ stated evidence that was contradictory to what we are told the majority of the time. He states that: “without them (cereal grains) we would not have had our ‘agricultural revolution’ and we would not be able to sustain our enormous present day population but there is a significant body of evidence which suggests that cereal grains are less than optimal foods for humans and that the human genetic makeup and physiology may not be fully adapted to high levels of cereal grain consumption.” His research suggests some alarming facts about the drawbacks of grains being the staple in our diets:
- Nutritionally void of vitamins and minerals
- High phytate content of grains may interfere with metabolism of vitamins and minerals
- Result in a high omega-6 : omega-3 ratio which is toxic to our bodies
- Inadequate growth because of reduction in protein and amino acids
- Increased acidity leading to increased risk of infections, cancer, osteoporosis
- Increased auto-immune conditions. The body loses its ability to differentiate between foreign proteins and self-proteins and so stages attacks on itself leading to a host of conditions such as Addison’s disease, asthma, autoimmune thyroid disease, dental enamel defects, epilepsy, liver disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Withdrawal of gluten-containing cereals from the diet can often ameliorate symptoms
- Long term consumption leads to insulin resistance (see understanding health)
This very contentious issue meets a lot of resistance. The major health concern with dairy is with pasteurization and homogenization (totally raw organic milk is ok) and this appears to cause a great deal of health conditions at all ages. Although many guidelines state that we need milk from when we are infants and up through childhood and adulthood this has primarily been based on our need calcium.
Calcium however can be obtained from many different food sources and dairy appears to be a less than optimal source. When we consider how many other species on earth consume another animals milk or how many animals consume milk after they have been weaned? the answer of course is none,
The largest mammals in the animal kingdom such as gorillas or cows (neither of which suffer from osteoporosis), don’t require milk from other animals to sustain their bone strength they obtain their calcium from plants just as we have the ability to.
In fact the acid/alkali effects of high dairy intake have been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis (weakening of the bones).
Once your body has metabolised the dairy, it leaves an ‘acidic ash/residue’ increasing the overall acidity of the body. In order to neutralise this acid your body needs to mobilise something alkaline, and the largest stores of alkaline material in the body is the calcium in the bones. So your body uses the calcium in the bone to neutralise the acid leading to more osteoporosis, not less.
Sugar could easily and should be classified as a poison. The definition of a poison is; “a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy life or impair health” or “something harmful or pernicious, as to happiness or well-being”.
Refined sugar has been depleted of all its vitamins and minerals leaving pure refined carbohydrates. When digested this causes a plethora of issues and if consumed on a regular basis leads to insulin resistance amongst others.
Insulin resistance has a significant role to play in most chronic diseases that we suffer from today, the big ones being cancer, diabetes and heart disease. One incredibly worrying aspect is the amount of sugar that children are now consuming and the hidden sugar in ‘foods’ where you wouldn’t expect it such as infant formula, breakfast cereals, bread, ketchup, peanut butter, microwave meals etc. The following list is a few effects of sugar consumption and by no means is it exhaustive:
- Sugar can suppress your immune system and impair your defences against infectious diseases
- Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach
- Sugar increases your risk of diabetes
- Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract including: an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis
- Sugar can cause your saliva to become acidic, tooth decay, and periodontal disease
- Sugar can cause autoimmune diseases such as: arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis
- Sugar contributes to obesity
- Sugar can cause gallstones, appendicitis, uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections), osteoporosis, increased systolic blood pressure, cataracts, gout and many others.
- Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines and dizziness
- Sugar can reduce the learning capacity, adversely affect school children’s grades and cause learning disorders, eczema in children
- Sugar is an addictive substance
Water is often overlooked as part of a balanced diet. Part of the reason it is not considered when it comes to dealing with various ailments is that the importance is massively undervalued and it is ‘too simple’. It absolutely essential that a sufficient water supply is provided since every function of the body is influenced by the presence of water and dehydration is hugely detrimental to health.
Water is a genetic requirement and we have the ability to survive only a few days without water. Due to the impressive ability of our bodies to adapt, the human body is able to deal with a certain amount of dehydration before you become consciously aware of it and feel thirsty. By this stage you are already dehydrated. As in other areas there are many conflicting opinions regarding quality, quantity and type of water needed. Again it is sensible to err on the side of logic and common sense.
One point that crops up regularly is whether coffee, tea etc. count as water or whether it is dehydrating. We believe that it is necessary for an adult to consume at least 1.5 litres of pure (filtered if possible) water every day. If the coffee and tea doesn’t dehydrate you then no harm will have come from drinking the extra water but if it does dehydrate you then of course it is fundamental you drink the water. Avoid squash/cordial (especially if it contains aspartame or other sweeteners), sugar and milk in tea and coffee, excessive alcohol, fizzy/soda/pop drinks, ‘energy’ drinks and anything else processed.
Our guidance is based on the research out there and we believe if you provide the body with what it needs genetically then it can’t do anything else but to be healthy. As long as you have the desire, we can help to provide you knowledge and techniques to guide you (and your family) through the nutritional transition to health.
A Real Food eating plan
Here are some simple guidelines to get you started:
Real food (eat as much as you like, organic and raw when possible)
Beans, sprouted beans and lentils
Nuts and seeds (NOT peanuts)
Partially processed food (moderate consumption ok, keep to organic)
Organic free range meat (grass fed beef, not grain fed)
Almond milk, rice milk, oat milk, coconut milk
Fruit juices, fresh squeezed yourself is best
Grains (those who cannot live without grains should choose whole oats, whole grain rice, quinoa, spelt, kamut and amaranth)
Stimulants – tobacco, tea (builder’s), coffee
Refined sugar and sweets
Sweeteners (aspartame etc)
Cakes, biscuits, pastries
Deep fried food
Food additives, preservatives, MSG, food colouring
- Most people feel better just by changing their breakfast to the foods in the first category. Soup, raw carrot, fresh fruit or eggs are great breakfasts, especially if you can do without the tea, coffee, toast and breakfast cereals.
- Try to plan ahead. Many people struggle at lunch-time and therefore settle for a sandwich and a packet of crisps.
Visit www.nutritiondata.com for detailed nutritional information about individual foods
It takes time to change but the rewards can last you a lifetime!