In the previous section, our focus was on how to keep our internal organs and systems clean, well hydrated and functioning in a
healthy manner. Now it is time to discuss how to provide our body with the nutrients it needs to support a life of health and vitality.
Healthy nutrition involves a return to the simple gifts of nature - the fresh vegetables, delicious fruits, tasty seeds and nuts. Once
we move beyond the fresh produce section of our local grocery store or supermarket, we can save ourselves a lot of money, and our body
a lot of distress, if we leave most of the food items on the shelf, rather than putting them into our shopping cart.
Habits do not change easily. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our food preparation and eating habits in the western world are unhealthy - some
dangerously so. It is human nature to assume that food producers would not market food products that are hazardous to our health. And even if
some food producers are a bit unscrupulous, we still have government "watchdog" agencies who are looking out for our best
interests, don't we? In truth, such is not the case.
The first step in moving toward healthier nutrition is to become better informed. That is the intent of this module. From that point
on, it is up to each individual to make wise choices for himself/herself, and to help make the best choices for their family . . . especially the children.
We wish you well!
Natural Foods vs. Processed Foods
A healthy diet is one that consists primarily of "natural" foods, including vegetables, herbs, fruits, berries, grains, seeds and
nuts. Unfortunately, the diet of the majority of people in the western world consists predominately of "processed" foods. Typical
problems with various processed foods are:
A diet that relies heavily on processed foods is sometimes referred to as the Standard American Diet, or "SAD" - the acronym says it all!
- They are infused with harmful preservatives in order to promote "shelf life."
- They tend to be laden with unhealthy sugars, sweeteners and salts, designed to appeal to our taste
buds, but which are detrimental to our body.
- Many processed foods contain artificial vitamins and minerals intended to convince consumers that the food
products are "enriched" in nutritional value. In reality, most artificial vitamins and minerals cannot be assimilated
into the bloodstream, and only tend to clog the digestive tract.
- Meat and meat products are usually derived from animals that have been fed large quantities of antibiotics, growth
stimulants and other additives, all designed to maximize production on "factory farms." The residuals of such additives
find their way into the tissue of the animals and are passed onto consumers. In addition, many meat products are contaminated
with illness-producing bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. coli.
- Some food products are "irradiated" in order to kill bacteria and promote shelf life, resulting in food that is lifeless
and lacking in nutritional value.
- Most processed foods contain artificial coloring and flavoring designed to appeal to the aesthetics and taste buds of the
consumer, but which are toxic to the body in many cases.
- Processed foods are frequently prepared by cooking them in oil that contains significant quantities of polyunsaturated
fats, resulting in food that is unhealthy for the body.
- Numerous types of processed foods, such as the traditional "TV dinners," are prepared and packaged in such a way as to
be conveniently heated in a microwave oven prior to eating. Microwave cooking kills enzymes and other important nutrients, leaving
essentially "dead" food that has very little nutritional value. Microwave cooking will be discussed in more detail later.
On the other hand, natural foods, if they are grown and prepared properly, and eaten when they are fresh, tend to provide
the nutrients and life forces that are needed for a healthy body.
Modern commercial agricultural practices, unfortunately, tend to work against the production of healthy, natural foods. There has
been an over-reliance on the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are used to increase food production. With repeated growing
cycles year after year, the soil tends to be leached of its natural minerals and other life-supporting nutrients. Such agricultural
practices tend to diminish the life force and nutritional value of the fruits and vegetables. Also, chemicals that are used in such
fertilization and protective practices tend to find their way into the fibers of the resulting vegetables, fruits and other agricultural
products. Virtually all such chemicals are toxic to the human body, some more than others.
The emergence of "organic" farming is an effort to move back to more natural agricultural methods that do not rely on chemicals. Originally,
"natural" food stores were the most common source of organic food products. But as consumer awareness has heightened, organic fruits and
vegetables are now being sold in "specialty" sections of produce department in most mainstream supermarkets.
Since the marketing of organic produce is still in its relative infancy, uniform standards for specifying the conditions under which produce
can legally be labeled as "organic" are not yet well established. So one cannot yet be absolutely certain when purchasing produce that
is labeled "organic" that it is, indeed, totally chemical free. On the other hand, one can be relatively certain that produce that is not
labeled "organic" probably has been subjected to at least some degree of chemical contamination.
Within the past several years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of "farmers' markets", in which local farmers sell their produce
directly to consumers. Usually these are set up on a one-day per week basis, such as Saturday. There is no guarantee that such produce is
free of chemical contamination, but the likelihood is that the produce grown on small local farms will be much more nutritious than that
produced on commercial mega-farms.
The best possible solution to this situation is to have an organic garden of your own. In addition to being certain that the produce is
raised in a chemical-free environment, there are other advantages. For example, fruits and vegetables can be eaten at their exact peak
of ripeness and maturity, yielding the maximum nutritional value and tastiness. In contrast, commercial fruits and vegetables that must be
harvested prior to peak maturity in order to allow for processing and distribution delays. This is a particularly important issue related
to fruit, which is much healthier if eaten when it is naturally ripened. Also, for a variety of reasons related to the life force and cycles
of the planet, fruits, vegetables and other natural foods are of the greatest nutritional value if they are grown in the same geographic vicinity
as the area in which one lives.
Having your own organic garden is obviously much more of a challenge for city dwellers than for people who live in suburban or rural areas. In
this regard, European cities have generally been much more progressive than American cities in creating "community" gardens where residents can
rent a small plot in which to have their own garden or natural oasis.
Guidelines for Healthy Meals
The previous section provided a perspective on what foods to eat. Now we will provide some guidelines on how and when to eat them.
Cultural habits are hard to break. Dining typically involves not only the consumption of food and beverages, but also provides an opportunity
for social interaction. Unfortunately, the eating habits of most people in the western world are detrimental to the promotion of health and vitality.
There are several factors that need to be taken into consideration. First and most importantly, each of us has a unique body, with unique nutritional
requirements. One person may thrive on a particular food that might make another person ill. Or, foods that support our health in the winter months
may not agree with us in the summer months. And, a food that may be nurturing to our health if eaten at midday may be detrimental to our health if
eaten in the evening. However, there are some general "rules of thumb" that apply to most of us, based on the manner in which our bodies process
food. Let's start with the question of raw versus cooked natural foods.
Raw versus cooked . . .
Since heating foods kills enzymes and alters other nutrients, it would seem that eating a diet of nothing but raw natural food, such
as fruits and vegetables, would be ideal. There certainly are a lot of other mammals that live on such a diet, and they seem to do
just fine. And with the growth of raw food diets and menus catering to them, it appears that raw foods' popularity is increasing.
But it is not quite that simple.
Our digestive tracts need fiber in order properly process the foods we eat. Fiber is the "skeleton" of plants. Its primary role in our
digestive process is to stimulate waves of muscular contractions which move the food along through the intestines. There is a
commonly held belief that fiber cannot be digested, and leaves our body unaltered. But this applies only to the small intestine. In
the large intestine (colon), fiber is attacked and broken down by a large number of "residential" bacteria. This can result in
fermentation if the fiber does not pass through the colon in a reasonable amount of time.
Cooked vegetables and grains contain fiber which helps the digestive process, but does not overwhelm the colon. Also, the high water
content of cooked foods generally makes the passage through the intestinal tract much easier. While raw fresh vegetables contain the
same fiber as cooked foods, it requires more time and energy to process raw foods through the intestines. Certain body types are more
capable of dealing with large quantities of raw food. Many people have gone on virtually 100% raw food diets and have thrived on such
a diet for extended periods of time. But in some cases, after as long as 10 or 20 years, their bodies began to suffer a physical
breakdown. They could no longer cope with the breaking down of hard grains and raw vegetables.
The fiber in fruits is also beneficial to the digestive process. But ripened fruits have already been "cooked" by the sun. So
cooking by artificial means is not necessary.
The safest approach is to maintain a reasonable balance between raw and cooked foods in our daily diet. If adjustments are made
to increase the proportion of raw food, they should be made gradually so that the body is able to accommodate it accordingly.
The inclusion of raw vegetable juices in a person's diet helps to provide enzymes and nutrients to offset those that are altered
in the cooking process. Raw vegetable juices will be discussed in more detail later. If raw foods and cooked foods are combined
in the same meal, raw foods, such as salads or fresh vegetable juice, should always be eaten first.
Other guidelines for meals . . .
- The main meal of the day should be eaten at mid-day when the sun is at its apex and digestive powers are the strongest, rather
than in the evening when digestive strength is greatly subdued. And foods should not be eaten just before going to bed. There
should be at least 3 hours between the last meal of the day and bedtime. Otherwise, food may remain undigested in the stomach, causing
fermentation, bloating or discomfort, and even weight gain.
- Avoid drinking beverages with a meal, since this dilutes the body's concentrated digestive juices, resulting in indigestion
and weight gain. It is especially important not to use beverages to "wash the food down" prematurely into the stomach. If you
desire to drink anything during a meal, it is best to sip warm water or perhaps a mild herbal tea.
- Chew foods well - especially meat and other hard-to-digest foods. Chewing is an important part of the digestive process.
- Keep meals simple - generally no more than 3 or 4 different foods.
- Raw foods should be eaten before cooked foods.
- Eat juicy foods prior to concentrated, solid foods.
- Eat more raw foods in summer, less in winter.
- Eat foods and beverages at room temperature, or warmer if cooked.
- With the exception of beans and rice, it is not advisable to retain "leftovers" for meals the following day, because they
have no life force left in them after a few hours.
- Meals should be eaten in a peaceful environment, with only pleasant company. It is best not to eat while the
mind is dominated by strong emotions such as fear or anger.
- Do not over-indulge at mealtime. As the internal organs of the body are cleansed and revitalized, and as we eliminate
toxic "junk" foods from our diet, our digestive processes become much more efficient. Consequently, we can gain all of
the nutrients our body needs with less total food intake.
- Avoid sleeping right after a meal, as that can cause sluggishness and weight gain. An ideal situation is to rest
for 10-15 minutes after a meal and then go for a 10-15 minute walk.
Seeds are rich in nutrients. After all, they contain all of the nutrients that are necessary to create the initial shoot of
a growing plant. But it is difficult for the human body to fully digest and assimilate the nutrients that are present within most seeds.
A good solution to this dilemma is to enable the seeds to germinate and sprout into small shoots. Such sprouts are much easier for the
body to assimilate. And the process of sprouting alters the chemistry of the original seed - most notably, making it much less starchy.
Also, as the seeds are exposed to sunlight in the later stages of the sprouting process, photosynthesis occurring within the plant creates
significant quantities of chlorophyll, an important health enhancer. The sprouting of seeds also develops Vitamin A and Vitamin C in a
form that is easily assimilated by the body.
Another advantage of sprouts is that they can be grown in a relatively small space. So even apartment dwellers can grow sprouts and enjoy watching
the miracle of nature as tiny seeds germinate and grow into little plants. Various types of seeds for growing sprouts can be found in
virtually all "natural" or "health" food stores. Grains and seeds that will sprout can also be found in agricultural supply stores, but
often such seeds have been treated with anti-fungal or other chemicals that are hazardous to our health. So, as a general rule, it is wise
to obtain seeds and grains for sprouting only from traditional food outlets, rather than from agricultural stores. There is a wide selection
of books currently available that provide guidance on how to sprout seeds.
Raw Vegetable Juices
Fresh vegetables are perhaps the most important component of a healthy diet. They contain natural vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that
are essential to our health and vitality. They also contain living enzymes that are required for the digestive, metabolic and
assimilation processes within the digestive tract.
Enzymes are sensitive to heat. At temperatures above 118° F, they start to become sluggish, just as the human body becomes lethargic in a
hot bath. At temperatures above 130° F, enzymes die. A dead enzyme cannot perform its crucial role in the digestive processes of the body.
The pros and cons of cooked food versus raw foods were discussed previously. Raw solid food requires many hours of digestive activity before
its nourishment is available to the cells and tissues of the body. Cooked foods are more easily digested. But since cooking foods kills the
enzymes, we are faced with a dilemma. Converting some of our raw vegetables into juices is a good way to accommodate this situation.
In contrast to the long period of time needed to digest raw vegetables, the nutrients of vegetable juices can be absorbed into the bloodstream
in a matter of minutes, rather than hours. And the process of juicing, using any of a wide variety of kitchen juicers currently on the market,
does not damage or compromise the enzymes or other nutrients in the vegetables.
There is another advantage that raw vegetable juices have over solid vegetables. Residuals of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are assimilated
into the vegetables reside primarily in the fiber of the vegetables. Since most of the fiber of the vegetables becomes a waste product in the juicing
process, raw vegetable juices provide a way to derive the nutritious benefit of vegetables without ingesting harmful residual chemicals.
A certain amount of fiber is important to the digestive process, since it acts as a "broom" to help keep the intestinal tract clean. Consequently
it is important to continue to include solid vegetables, cooked and uncooked, as a staple in our daily diet. Vegetable juices tend to consist
of highly concentrated nutrients, so they should be introduced into our daily diet with appropriate caution.
If there is a downside to raw vegetable juices, it is probably the fact that the nutrients in the juice begin to break down fairly soon after
the juicing process - in a matter of hours, rather than days. Consequently, it is important to drink vegetable juices reasonably soon after the
juicing process. In busy households, in which time and convenience are at a premium, this can present a challenge.
The information in this module has drawn heavily on books and teachings of Andreas Moritz, who is world renown in the field
of alternative health. We would especially recommend his following books, all of which are available through his website:
- Timeless Secrets of Health & Rejuvenation (This is his most comprehensive book on alternative health.)
- The Amazing Liver & Gallbladder Flush
- Cancer is Not a Disease! . . It's a Survival Mechanism
- Heart Disease No More!
- Ending the AIDS Myth
- Diabetes No More!
- Feel Great, Lose Weight
- Heal Yourself with Sunlight
- Simple Steps to Total health