“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”
~ Thomas Edison
A major component or one of the cornerstones of Naturopathic Medicine is Nutrition. What goes into the body is one of the most important aspects of health. In fact, next to high quality water and air, it is probably the most important factor that determines the difference between health and dis-ease. A recent quote by the Rockefeller Institute of Medicine Research said “If the doctors of today do not become the nutritionists of tomorrow, then the nutritionists of today will become the doctors of tomorrow. ” According to a New York Times piece written by a medical doctor, most doctors receive little to no courses or training about diet or nutrition. This is not say in any way that what MD’s do is wrong or bad, no, on the contrary, this is just pointing out a well-known fact. Naturopaths receive many courses on nutrition and this is an aspect that is closely monitored with my clients. A large part of what we do is to educate on the what is good to eat, why it is critical, and how to go about the task of eating for improved health. Having said this, a couple of questions pop up with regards to the statements made above.
1. So much information on health, diets, plans and nutrition exists in the media and in our world today, yet overall our health as a whole society continues to suffer, why is this? I personally don’t believe in dieting or complicated plans for eating. I believe in adopting a healthy overall lifestyle, eating the right things, in the right quantities and at the right times, so you don’t have to “diet”. Here are some of the main reasons I believe that we are continuing to struggle as society with food even though there is an abundance of material advising us as to what we should eat and how to live. First, adopting a healthy lifestyle in our ever increasingly toxic world is hard to do. It takes discipline and preparation (a plan) to live healthy and I find that many people are not motivated enough to do what it takes. Second, preparing healthy food takes time and our lives are so fast paced that sometimes passing by McDonald’s is easier. The pace of society is much faster than it used to be. Third, buying organic fruits and veggies, depending upon the place, tends to be a little bit more expensive that prepackaged food. However, the price you pay in the long much is much greater with potential hospital costs and pharmaceuticals. Lastly, many people get discouraged because results are not instant and people also have doubts as to what they are doing is actually the right thing, which leads to our next question.
2. With the myriads of information available, if one wanted to eat more “healthy”, how do you know what is right and what is not? This is a common question that I find most people have. We are bombarded from the media, magazines, newspapers and advertisements telling us what is right and what isn’t and this information many times is contradictory. My philosophy to nutrition and diet is not complicated and should remain this way. I am convinced that human being were designed to eat mostly vegetables and fruits. Our digestive tracts are very long, which gives us insight in to the foods that are optimal for us. Dogs, for example, have very short digestive tracts and also have very sharp teeth for eating flesh or meat, so that they can get rid of the waste very quickly. In turn with humans, undigested meat, can putrefy, contributing to a buildup of toxicity in the body (this is a common root cause of Fibromyalgia). People of means in the past were typically those that only had access to meat, whereas common people tended to eat more from the “ground” as it were. In fact, Gout, which is an accumulation of uric acid in the body, has been known throughout history as “The Disease of Kings” or the “Rich Mans Disease”, and is caused primarily by eating too much protein or meat. People suffering from Gout has risen exponentially in the last 100 years. Here is a general guide that I recommend as to what people should eat:
A. 70-80% of the diet should consist of alkaline vegetables and fruits.
B. Of this 70-80%, 75% should be vegetables. In the average diet this means 2 servings of fruits per day and 5-6 servings of vegetables.
C. At least 50% (if not more) of the total diet should be raw food (completely uncooked).
D. 10-20% of the diet can be steamed or lightly cooked vegetables.
E. The remaining 20-30% of the diet should be a mix of whole grains, raw nuts, raw seeds and meat. Most people consume far too much protein. Everyone is different, however, consuming 1 hamburger patty and 2 eggs per day should provide all the protein that most people need for an entire day. Any more than this can produce unwanted acidity in the body and cause imbalance. Again, this is a very simple guide and everyone is different and may require dietary changes that are different that provided above. Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits is also key as each food provides different nutrients and phytonutrients needed by the body.
3. Why is there not more of an emphasis on health and natural treatment today? This is loaded question. Due to confusion about what we should eat to actually facilitate health creates doubt and many people honestly don’t know what to believe. This was a battle I wrestled with as well at one time. However, remember this: keep things simple and always stick closest to what is found in nature (veggies and fruits, whole grain, nuts and seeds). Whatever is grown naturally and in its orignal state from the ground is just superior to any other foods. Unaltered, unadulterated, preservative free, no additives or fillers, not genetically altered or modified, uncooked, free of artificial flavoring and food that hasn’t been refined is always your best bet.
Dr. Michael Tierra states that “Diet is the essential key to all successful healing. Without a proper balanced diet, the effectiveness of herbal treatment is very limited.”
Serving the Orlando, Florida area.