By now you are probably wondering if there is anything left to eat on the planet. Sure, but you have to do your homework. Just going to the supermarket can be hazardous to your health! Start reading labels. Try to buy Organic. Get to know and support your local farmers. Join a CSA (community supported agriculture). Shop at farmer’s markets, though be aware that they aren’t all organic. Ask questions. And the countdown continues….
Learn to process your “seeds” properly and don’t be afraid of “good fat”.
I was never vegan, but for about 20 years I ate little red meat, low fat, and from 1988-2006 I started my day with a soy protein smoothie. I ate veggie burgers, soy nuts, soy protein bars, soy milk and lots of fake foods made with soy. Many vegans and vegetarians rely on soy as a protein source, but that’s not a good idea. [Poor protein sources can cause malnutrition, i.e. muscle wasting and severe edema. I had 5 clients in a row with edema and they were all vegetarians.] Soy is a goitrogen meaning that it suppresses thyroid function, and it’s phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function [think man-boobs and early puberty].
Soy (and nuts, seeds, grains, beans…basically all of these are seeds) contain phytates, which are chemically attracted to minerals and leach them from our bodies. If that isn’t bad enough, they inhibit enzymes that we depend on to digest our food. You can treat these “seeds” properly by soaking — but soaking doesn’t work with soy! This is especially a problem if you have poor gut health.
I had to slip in the bit about low fat. We were sure brainwashed by “The edible oil industry” – yes, and they have a super big lobby!!! What’s left if you take out fat? Protein and carbohydrates a.k.a “carbs”. Refined carbs are what makes us fat, not good fat. I’ll cover “good fats” in a future blog.
Low fat dairy is really evil because of what is NOT on the label – MSG! MSG is another neuro-toxin like artificial sweeteners. The industrial process is to separate the cream (they make more money on cream), then dry the defatted milk at super high temps and store it. When they need some low fat milk, they just add water (fluoride anyone?) and MSG. Why? Because it tastes like powdered milk – yuck! Low fat yogurt, etc…all the same. It’s amazing how they hide MSG by cryptic labeling. Children are at the biggest risk, but the elderly, who often stop cooking and eat a lot of canned foods are also at risk.
Move every day. This may seem simple, but for those with low cortisol (see Number 10) the adrenals need to be supported first. That does not mean you can’t move. Shrug your shoulders lightly. Lift your arms and rotate them in every way you can. While you are sitting, rotate your ankles and bend your knees. If you can walk, get a pedometer and count your steps, building up from 100-10,000 day. Even if you are fit, you should still move all of your joints gently every morning. I’m not talking about stretching, but gentle movement. I can see an entire blog shaping from this idea
The basis for this advise comes from my clinical experience. When clients who sit all day at the computer and never move the arms outside of typing or using the mouse, they begin the downward spiral of frozen joints. Usually they get to me when they are in a lot of pain. Moving is prevention!
Get some bodywork on a regular basis. Seriously, this is not just a plug for my services. Consider this prevention just like movement. People spend more money on maintenance for their cars than for their bodies. If you wake up with aches or pains, consider it time for a tune-up!
Don’t eat standing up! Why? Sit, be relaxed, taste, chew, and enjoy every bite of food. We, as a culture, eat too fast. The French take hours eating a meal. Maybe we can compromise a little and take 45-60 minutes for dinner.
Digestion begins immediately with saliva and teeth, then down the esophagus, and into the acidic stomach (and YES, it should be acidic!!! [We’ll cover acid reflux later.] Stomach acid kills any pathogens and breaks down the food in to small particles. The stomach separates protein from vitamin B12 and creates Intrinsic Factor that later is used to metabolize Vitamin B12. [More on that later.]
If you are anxious, running late for work or to get back to work, your body will be in fight/flight – sort of a mild Adrenalin state we call the “sympathetic” nervous system. This goes back to the days when cavemen were running from a saber tooth tiger – that’s “flight”! The caveman had maximum running power because his digestion was put on hold, to wait for later. How many people today are in a constant state of stress?
Getting back to digestion, we need to be relaxed, in the “parasympathetic” state in order to digest our food and to sleep. This takes us back to Number 10 – those darn adrenals!
Drink water with sea salt. Stop using refined white salt. It is treated with nasty chemicals in order to make it white and it only contains sodium without any trace minerals. Good quality unrefined, multi-colored sea salt like Celtic or Redmond, contains 80+ minerals. Be careful though, because in France 35% of “fortified” salt contains fluoride and fluoridated salt is widespread in South America. Oh, in case you wondered about iodized salt, only 10% of the iodine is absorbed and there is a belief that this form of iodine is contributing to autoimmune thyroid conditions.
How many of you don’t drink enough water? I’m guilty. I forget. It’s not convenient. I don’t want to drink too much before bed or I’ll be up all night? So let’s talk about water a bit. We already covered don’t drink water with fluoride or chloride (or bromine), so where do we get safe water? If you’ve got a good source of well water or spring water that’s great! But many years ago, my neighbor told me that our community well water had high levels of fluoride. I smiled and said “great for our teeth”. Fluoride and Arsenic may be natural, but not safe.
You can check how much fluoride is in your water and decide if you are ready to filter or not. While you are there, feel free to ignore the lies that the CDC tells, after all, their jobs are on the line, and science is on our side! Those little pitcher filters will not filter out Fluoride. A simple way is to buy drinking water at the local store that has a refillable water machine. Lots of places do. I buy water for my office at my local health food store for just 25 cents a gallon. At home I have a Berkey water purifier. If I didn’t live in a condo I would get a whole house Reverse Osmosis (RO) system. Better yet, many cities are rejecting fluoride, following Europe‘s lead.
RO water has no minerals or any real vitality and this brings us back to sea salt. Adding sea salt back into the filtered water is the next best thing to quality spring water. The ratio, according to Dr David Brownstein’s book “Salt your way to Health”, is 1/4 teaspoon per quart of water, or 1 teaspoon per gallon. Salt is critical in digestion as it is used to make hydrochloric acid (our stomach acid), digesting carbs, protein and fat. Too little salt will affect hormone production and Vitamin C transport into the adrenals. Low salt diets have been linked to insulin resistance. Craving salt is a sign of poor adrenal function!
When I first started using sea salt in my water I was a bit skeptical. I drank a lot of RO water and it rushed right through me. I would make a lot of trips to the bathroom. After re-mineralizing my RO water with sea salt, I took fewer trips to the bathroom and was retaining water for a few days. Not good, I thought, but soon things evened out and now I don’t retain any extra fluid. My kidneys and adrenals are happy with sea salt, my blood pressure stabilized – in fact my Adrenals love it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Top 10 Health Resolutions and links to source material.