Food and what it can do for us has become a question of concern. We all think of food as a life-giving resource, but it’s interesting to know that the same food that we think is giving us life can also be damaging to us.
In a modern diet, we eat many foods that are not good for us. Because of the ease of preparing processed foods, we are eating a lot of unhealthy fats and by doing this we are actually causing a lot of our own health problems. Food can be directly linked to many different diseases. Therefore, it’s essential that we watch what we eat and how we eat it.
Knowing the effects of food and changing our habits are two completely different things. If we could pursue a healthier and happier existence by resetting our taste for food and taking on different habits, why don’t we?
The answer is a combination of factors. One reason is that we have become addicted to our modern diet that is high in sugar and salt, both of which can be very addictive. Our taste buds have gotten accustomed to high levels of sugar and salt, and so when we eat natural foods, we find them bland. But if you were to spend some time away from processed foods and take the time to get used to fresh fruits and vegetables, your taste buds will get accustomed to the subtle but satisfying taste of natural foods. Another reason is that a lot of well-meaning doctors and nutrition experts end up giving advice that is counterproductive and causes more harm than help.
Thirty years ago when I began my practice I hardly saw anyone with chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and many others. Now I see people with not just one but multiple chronic diseases, and here’s why: due to our modern Western diet, people all over the world are not only fatter, but they are also sicker than ever before.
People in Western countries consume
about 150 pounds of sugar every year!
Everywhere modern processed goods go, chronic disease including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease goes as well. Although there are a number of factors that contribute to these chronic health problems, our diet is the most important.
Over the past 160 years, our total sugar intake has skyrocketed. People in Western-diet countries are consuming about 150 pounds of sugar a year, which is over 500 calories a day of sugar!
Added sugar is a contributor to not only obesity, but also diabetes, heart disease, and cancer because sugar promotes inflammation. Worse yet is the consumption of soda and fruit juice. One study found that in children, sugar-sweetened beverages are responsible for a 60 percent increase in obesity.
We’ve become addicted to our modern diet
that is high in sugar and salt.
People have abandoned traditional fats in favor of highly processed or hydrogenated vegetable oils. I just read a statement by a cardiologist telling people to replace butter with a canola oil spread. When health professionals blame saturated fats for heart disease, people will abandon them in favor of processed oils. However, these oils are high in omega-6 fats, which contribute to inflammation. Therefore, the misguided advice to avoid saturated fats and replace them with highly processed vegetable oils might actually be responsible for the heart disease epidemic that we see today.
Egg consumption has also decreased because of misguided advice. Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods. Although eggs are high in cholesterol, there is no evidence that they raise bad cholesterol or contribute to heart disease. As a result of this misguided advice, we have substituted refined, highly processed, and sugared boxed cereals for eggs.
Since 1950, we have decreased our egg consumption by 33 percent, while our heart disease has skyrocketed. Not only this, but people are eating more processed foods than ever before.
Elements of a Traditional Diet
In a traditional diet, food comes from the source. This means that the fruits and vegetables come from the ground, meat comes from the animal, and bread and other goods come from baking from scratch. Nothing comes from a factory, nothing is processed.
By taking the time to ensure that we know that our food is free from chemicals and hormones, we ensure that we are putting natural elements into our bodies rather than trusting a box to tell us that the contents are healthy. Based on how “morally” other big corporations have behaved in the past, can we really trust our health to food corporations?
A hundred years ago, people ate a traditional diet because that was all there was. Everything was organic. Nowadays, we are seeing people die younger due to heart disease and other factors that can be directly linked to our diet. Obviously, the people who enjoyed longevity a century ago had the right idea as to what and when they ate.
According to a Weston A. Price Foundation article “Modernizing Your Diet with Traditional Foods,” by Joette Calabrese, all traditional cultures:
* Consume some sort of animal protein, including organ meats and fat, every day
* Consume foods that contain very high levels of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin K2 found in seafood, organ meats, and animal fats)
* Consume some foods with high enzyme and probiotic content
* Consume seeds, grains, and nuts that are soaked, sprouted, fermented, or naturally leavened in order to neutralize a portion of the naturally occurring anti-nutrients in these foods
* Consume plenty of natural fats, but no industrial liquid or hardened (partially hydrogenated) oils
* Consume natural, unrefined salt
* Consume animal bones, usually in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths
* Provide extra nutrition for parents-to-be, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and growing children, to ensure the health of the next generation
* Do not consume refined or processed foods, including white flour, refined sweeteners, pasteurized and low-fat milk products, protein powders, industrial fats and oils, and chemical additives
These are suggestions to work toward because simple, time-proven foods can make a huge difference in your health and longevity.
The trouble is, we’re not eating food any more,
but food-like products.
-- Alejandro Junger, M.D.
Points to Remember
Although every person has unique food preferences and needs, studies have proven that the traditional diet consistently promotes longevity and vitality.
The traditional diet is time proven. There are many people all over the world who have been eating the same way for thousands of years—look at India, Mexico, and China for proof. These people are living longer, healthier lives even today. Knowing that people are living longer due to their diets is key to understanding the message of this chapter. If you were to ask centenarians what their secret to longevity is, they would name what they eat as one of the main factors. People who eat better live longer.
I want to encourage you to think before you shop and before you eat. Now that you see that food has a direct impact upon your health, try to make the necessary changes in your diet to ensure that you don’t meet a premature death due to poor eating, or a compromised old age spent hobbling between infirmaries. I encourage all who read this to try to take on a more traditional diet. Your body will thank you!
Although we can’t all eat the way those people eat, here are some changes you can make right now:
* Wherever possible shop at local farmer’s markets
* Buy hormone-free eggs and wild fish instead of farmed
* Buy grass-fed meats and dairy products
* Purchase foods that do not come in a package
* Try to use more natural sweeteners instead of refined sugar
* Choose whole grains instead of white flour
* Cook at home—home cooking is best; cooking with fire rather than a microwave is better
* Include seasonal and locally grown fruits and vegetables in your diet
* Include legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds
* Buy seasonal foods
Long-Term Health or Transient Gratification?
Taking responsibility for our health means a commitment to change. We must be prepared to abandon lifelong habits. Most of us love our indulgences, and giving them up seems a terrible deprivation, but we cannot restore our health until we begin to place a higher value on our health than on the immediate and transient gratification that we get from certain foods.
Health is not merely the absence of disease, but it is also a state of optimum well-being from which life seems to flow effortlessly. When the body is healthy, the mind is healthy and our judgment is on target. We seem to always be “in the right place at the right time.” Our intuition becomes strong and enables us to function harmoniously within our environment. The way we eat can help us enjoy life with greater health and vitality.
©2017 by Elisa Lottor.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Healing Arts Press. www.InnerTraditions.com
The Miracle of Regenerative Medicine: How to Naturally Reverse the Aging Process
by Elisa Lottor, Ph.D., HMD.
Harnessing the advances of the new paradigm of medicine--which focuses on the regenerative abilities of the body rather than symptom management--Elisa Lottor, Ph.D., HMD, explains how each of us can turn on the body’s self-healing abilities, prevent illness before it starts, and reverse the aging process to live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
About the Author
Elisa Lottor, Ph.D., HMD, is an expert in nutrition, homeopathy, and energy medicine with a special interest in regenerative medicine and women’s health. An international lecturer and consultant, she has had a homeopathy and nutrition practice for more than 30 years. She is also the author of Female and Forgetful. Visit her on Facebook