It can be helpful to thing of food on a spectrum least health food to most healthy food. Foods come into 3 catagories fats carbohydrates protien. all of these can be found in good and bad sources.
- Eating whole, unrefined foods— refining and processing food removes most of the critically important nutrients.
- Eating a wide variety of alkaline foods— hunter-gatherers consume around 75 different wild plants. Many people now eat only around 10 different types of food.
- Eating uncooked foods frequently — cooking is a relatively new development and destroys many vital nutrients, particularly antioxidants.
- Eating mostly plants — the hunter-gatherer diet was 70% vegetables and fruits.
Food is also part of a celebration of life so it is important that as well as nutritious and healthy, our food remains varied, practical, enjoyable and consistent with our cultural identity.
We should eat mainly:
- alkaline vegetables and fruits- broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, celery, spinach, sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, avocado, coconut etc.
- good proteins — beans, seeds, eggs (preferably soft boiled or poached), fish, organic chicken or turkey, organic red meat (preferably grass fed or wild game). Try and find free range organic eggs from chickens that have been fed flaxseed to increase their omega-3 fatty acid content. Never eat meat unless it is from organic, grass fed animals. Grass fed beef is also high in congugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been proven to have anti-cancer properties. The grains that other animals are fed on always contain fungus and mould. In fact these animals are often fed on grains that were rejected for human use because mould contamination was too high. The fats of these meats contain mycotoxins from the fungus. Studies linking red meat to cancer are talking about feedlot, grain fed, antibiotice/hormone laced red meat. People recovering from severe illnesses such as cancer may need to eliminate most of these acidic proteins as well.
- good fats — monounsaturated fats e.g. extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts
- omega 3 fatty acids— fish oils, flax seed oil, flax seeds
- ancient alkaline grains- quinoa, buckwheat, millet, spelt
We should eat much less:
- high glycaemic, highly processed carbohydrates — white bread, white flour, pasta, white rice, potatoes and refined sugar
- saturated fat e.g. palm oils
- polyunsaturated fats e.g. safflower and sunflower oils
- shellfish (contain heavy metals and pesticides)
We should eliminate (that means if you are currently well you can allow yourself an occasional treat, if you are recovering from a degenerative disease, you should completely eliminate them until you are well again):
- dairy products- contain high amonts of lactic acid which over acidifies the body. Casein is carcinogenic.
- cereal grains such as wheat, rye, oats, barley (acidic and allergenic)
- red meat from farmed domesticated animals (acid forming, contain unwanted hormones, carcinogenic and are an infectious disease risk). Remember that the domesticated meat of today is very different to the wild game our ancestors ate. Wild game had about 3% fat, whereas modern beef contains 25 to 35% fat and is also laced with antibiotics and hormones. Wild game feeds mainly on grass, farm lot animals are usually fed grains. Wild, grass fed animals contain a large amount of the invaluable omega-3 fatty acids while grain fed animals contain almost exclusively inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Also avoid processed meats such as sausage which have refined fillers, chemical colouring and preservatives.
- trans fatty acids – cause insulin resistance, cancer and heart disease (check food labels)
- processed foods, especially those containing partially hydrogenated oils e.g. spreads, commercial salad dressings and margarine. They cause insulin resistance and are carcinogenic (use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or margarine)
- soft drinks (acidic, high glycaemic and increase triglycerides). This includes diet drinks because the artificial sweetener aspartame is a slow acting poison (it gets metabolised to formaldehyde and methanol in the body).
- chemical preservatives and artificial colours
“Everything in moderation” teaching is not supported here. Everything in moderation is fine if you want moderate health, moderate vitality and moderate longevity. If you want more than that, then self-discipline is required to not just go on a temporary diet, but to completely change the way you approach food and health. Benefits include maintenance of a healthy weight, decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, reduced cholesterol and increased energy. Make the changes gradually and soon you won’t want to go back to your old eating ways because of your new found vitality.
There are some foods (frequently referred to as longevity foods) that contain nutritional factors other than vitamins and minerals that are important for health and longevity. Many have been proven to reduce the risk of cancer. I recommend that you use as many of them as possible in your nutritional programme. They include broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, flaxseed oil, green leafy vegetables, garlic, ginger, onions, scallions, legumes and almonds.
Specific vitamin, trace mineral, antioxidant and herbal supplementation is recommended. Our diet usually contains sufficient vitamins and trace minerals to avoid deficiency diseases but not enough for optimal health. The often quoted Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) are the amounts we require to avoid deficiency diseases, not the amounts required to give us enduring energy and vibrant health.
Antioxidants protect us from damaging free radicals. Our bodies have a natural antioxidant system and we obtain extra antioxidants through fruit and vegetables. However, these systems are overwhelmed. An imbalance between the amount of free radicals and antioxidants is involved in both the development of disease and ageing. Antioxidant supplements correct this imbalance and offer protection against free radical induced degenerative diseases.
Herbal supplements are used to increase the body’s natural resistance and immunity to disease in general. They have also traditionally been used to increase energy and vitality. They have been popular in China for thousands of years. They are the complete opposite of medicinal drugs which are designed to treat a specific disease once it has occurred.
Individualised supplementation programmes are recommended at the Treat the Cause Clinic. However, there are two supplements everyone should take: pharmaceutical grade fish oil (or flax seed oil) and a top quality probiotic.
Principle 4. Optimal Hydration
Keeping well hydrated helps the kidneys eliminate toxins. It is crucial that when we ingest fluids that we are helping our bodies detoxify, not adding toxins. As well as their role in elimination, the kidneys also maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance of the body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the kidneys are the most important organs in terms of longevity.
Our bodies are 70% water. Pure alkaline water is therefore the main fluid we should be replenishing our bodies with and we don’t drink nearly enough of it. I recommend water which has not had chemicals such as chlorine added to it. Chlorine is a powerful oxidising agent (produces free radicals) and may contribute to heart disease. Other contaminants that are frequently found in tap water include industrial chemicals, lead (from pipes) and organisms. I suggest where possible you use filtered water.
Ensuring an adequate intake of pure alkaline water is the single most important practice anyone can begin to improve their health .How much water we should drink is a contentious subject. My opinion is that as a guide we should be aiming for 1 liter for every 25kgs of body weight. So a 75 kg person would aim for 3 liters/day. People with heart or kidney disease would need to make individual adjustments to these guidelines.