to Live: Solving the Great Puzzle
I must admit that sometimes I'm ready to give up. Trying to discern what to eat, how to prepare foods, grow crops without chemicals, store them to preserve the highest level of quality and promote good health for my own body seems almost impossible and discouraging. Wild animals don't seem to have this much trouble at all. They know exactly what to eat, how much is enough and have the means of obtaining it without needing supplements, tools, jars, buckets, freezers, stoves, knives, etc. But for some strange reason, we humans have lost that innate ability. When we try to go back to simple foods and provide for ourselves, we run into a brick wall of conflicting opinions, misinformation and sometimes a real lack of support from friends and family. Trying to solve this great puzzle is one of the most difficult challenges in our country today. And yet, so much depends upon our food choices, everything from our personal health, the sustainability of the planet, as well as the economic world system, which underlies modern civilization.
It is understandable why so many people refuse to participate in solving the great puzzle. Itís overwhelming and takes too much energy and effort to wade through all the available research and diet systems trying to uncover the truth. Furthermore, no one system will work for everyone because we are scattered all over the planet, have different sources of food, different needs, different tastes, and different body types.
There is no doubt that there is a health crisis in America. The greedy corporate capitalistic food industry has promoted the worst kinds of (non) food on the public, such as refined, impure, irradiated, canned, chemically grown products with long shelf life for one reason only...profit and ill health. One of the main causes of poor health is impure food and that in turn supports the pharmaceutical and medical industries. It's a clever, vicious cycle of manipulation and control and many of us have been completely unaware of this agenda and ignorant of the consequences on the planet and ourselves.
How do we solve the great puzzle? How do we regain the knowledge of true health? And how can we provide it for ourselves without having to rely on man made concoctions, processed supplements or foods that are unavailable locally. There are so many differing opinions and diet philosophies, all claiming to be true. Logic alone tells me they can't all be true. There must be a simple, better way to discern proper eating that does not cause nutritional deficiencies and chronic, degenerative health problems down the line.
Most health systems seem to work wonders in the short term. That is true. Many people are able to lose weight on meat and high fat diets while cutting back on carbohydrates. Others swear that cutting saturated fats are essential and advocate plenty of whole grains each day. Some say we must have plenty of expensive supplements, vitamins, colloidal minerals, colloidal silver, eat for your blood type, eat raw foods only, cooked foods only, fruit only, no fruit and only meat and salad. Some even say no food, just sunshine and pure water, and a little bit of organic chocolate from time to time! It all makes me want to scream! What is the truth and who can tell others what's right for another person?
Old Way Makes Sense
The facts are plain and simple. In the primitive past there werenít the kinds of degenerative diseases that we see today. Dr. Weston A. Price (Nutrition and Physical Degeneration) found that the primitive peoples he visited ate everything available to them fresh and whole. There were no refined foods, no white flour, no sugar, no mined salt, and no sodas or processed meats. These people ate what they could either hunt or gather or produce themselves and they had excellent health, good bone structure, healthy teeth and none of the kinds of ailments that we have today, such as heart disease, cancer, sexual dysfunction, osteoporosis, etc. Many enlightened researchers today are convinced that the real culprits behind ill health are modern food concoctions and refined and processed foods such as refined vegetable oils, white flour, chemical and pesticide residue and sugar!
In nourishing oneself naturally there should be no fear in eating saturated animal fats in the form of real butter, organic eggs, cultured milk and cheese as they are necessary components for good health and proper nutrient absorption. In flesh foods, the cover fat should be trimmed, but the marbled fat in meat is okay, especially in wild game such as deer, antelope, goose, duck, etc. It is best not to eat too much flesh foods since we really don't need much. Eating flesh foods too often (more than 3 times a week) puts a burden on the digestive system since flesh foods don't contain much fiber. I personally feel that bone stocks and meat broth made from clean, healthy animals are a tasty, efficient way to get minerals and other nutrients needed by the body, as well as raw, fermented milk products. It is cheaper this way and if you know a hunter you can get fresh bones for free.
Primitive cultures intuitively knew about fats and sought out such foods. Again, saturated animal fats are important, as long as they are obtained from healthy meats, cultured butter, eggs, clabbered milk, etc. In fact, repeated analysis of blocked arteries in heart disease patients indicated only 26% saturated fats, the rest of the blockage was made up of polyunsaturated fats (cooked, refined oils!). Considering the fact that the typical American often ingests these unnatural oils daily (especially margarine) along with refined flour and high fructose corn syrup (which is in everything processed) it should be no surprise that many people suffer the consequences of serious degenerative health conditions. Though attempts are made to alleviate these symptoms with drugs or surgery, the real cause remains hidden and unsuspected.
We must look at this situation logically and ask ourselves why this is happening. Why, when we live in a country with so much food and abundance are we suffering a major health crisis? Does it not make sense that modern ailments, many of which were unknown until the mid-20th century, are due to the onslaught of unnatural substances and modern food manufacturing processes, which include everything from processed vegetable oils to ultra-pasteurizing milk, from sugar-laced junk food to irradiating beef? There must be a better way to figure this out. A helpful system for discerning the truth about nutrition, or anything else for that matter, is to test it against three forms of knowledge. We need to ask ourselves:
1.) Does the dietary system agree with ancient knowledge, 8000 years of cumulative wisdom from all the cultures around the world?
2.) Does the dietary system agree with the laws of nature?
3.) Does the dietary system agree with our personal intuitive knowing?
If something deviates from even one of these, it would be wise to withhold our conclusions until more information becomes available to us. As of 2003 there were over 12,000 different books on the subject of diet and weight loss. Surely they can't all be right.
Could we possibly consider heeding the example of the combined ancient wisdom from thousands of years of evolution to our present day circumstances? Can we create a way of nourishing ourselves that is both practical for where we live and environmentally sustainable, as well as nutritionally sound? I humbly suggest that we put aside all the so-called dietary laws and expert advice and develop instead a simple method of eating that supports biological human health, sound agriculture, locally grown foods and which utilizes the complete spectrum of whole foods instead of reliance on pre-packaged, canned or frozen (non) foods that are de-natured, expensive, truck-ripened and often devitalized.
Ancient cultures fed themselves and their children whole foods; some groups were vegetarian, some were not, but the point is, they provided for themselves with what was found in nature, in their location, and they always ate whole foods. They didn't refine foods just to enhance shelf life, which always compromises the nutritional benefits. And as mentioned before, they learned to adapt their diets to their particular location and climate. (People living in warmer areas ate more fruit and raw foods, insects, roots, some wild game, while those living in colder climates, depended upon fish, meat, fowl, milk products and grain.)
Overall, most primitive societies around the world tended to rely on combinations of raw and fermented foods (vegetables, fruit, grains, seeds, dairy products), as well as some form of protein such as wild game, fish, insects or milk products. The tragedy in our civilized world today is that we do not provide our food for ourselves, rather we purchase it from markets, often not really knowing the quality or origin of the foods we are eating. The way to avoid this is to eat a diet that honors the ancient, nourishing traditions of primitive cultures that always carefully prepared their foods mindfully and slowly (thus the wisdom of the "slow foods" movement).
The diet systems of today are
abundant and most of them are based on theories of human evolution or
nutrition ideas that are impossible to prove or from research that is
hard to validate. Furthermore,
they often do not take into account the accessibility of certain foods
for people living in various climates and regions of the world. Marc
David, in "Nourishing Wisdom" writes:
"Scattered across the earth are people of vastly different
races, cultures, body types and belief systems. They live near
mountains, oceans, rivers, deserts, tundra, forests and flatlands. Some
have only fish and a few varieties of plants available to eat; some, an
assortment of tropical fruits and vegetables; some have only yak milk,
meat, and a little grain; while others have enough fertile land and
resources to raise crops, herd animals, and mass produce every
imaginable variety of food.
"Is it sensible for any one people to tell another about the
"true" ways to eat? Can a tribesman from West Africa whose
staple food is cassava root tell an Eskimo he is wrong because his
staple diet is fish? Or can the Japanese tell the Mexicans of the
absurdity of eating dairy, corn, hot peppers and food fried in lard,
staple products unknown to native Japan?"
The safe bet for us is to choose foods that originate from our
local region, within a 50-mile radius. Of course that isn't always going
to work in every case. There
are certain staple items that must be purchased in bulk that have to be
shipped, such as wheat, rye, corn, rice, seeds, Celtic Sea Salt, olive
oil, etc. These things can be stored in large amounts and may have to be
gathered from farther way. But a lot of fresh foods such as raw milk,
fruit, vegetables, nuts, etc. can and should be acquired from local
sources as much as possible. It is very important to support sustainable
forms of agriculture by purchasing organic foods. Even if one doesn't
value organically grown produce for their own use, they should do it for
the sake of the planet and the dwindling topsoil. Commercially grown
crops, promoted by agribusiness, rely heavily on chemical fertilizers,
pesticides and genetically modified organisms and have become a serious
threat to our environment and the sustainability of the eco-system.
The kinds of foods listed below are the ones that several
independently funded nutritional researchers seem to agree on. With the
exception of the protein list, which includes several forms of flesh
foods that can be consumed, it is very close to the kind of diet
followed by the ancient Persians (Zarathustra) and the Essene
brotherhood. My conclusion
is that a strict raw food regimen and especially vegan diets are great
for cleansing and healing but unwise over the long term. Without the
addition of saturated animal fats, human beings tend to be unable to
absorb fat-soluble vitamins and other vital nutrients.
fat diets do not necessarily lead to sustainable levels of good health
either, as has been shown in the dental records and bone structures of
primitive peoples who ate strict vegetarian diets; neither does avoiding
whole grain carbohydrates as many health guru's claim. What most of them
do agree on is that we must avoid refined
foods, as these are biocidic (life-destroying). These foods include
white flour, white rice, refined sugars, inorganic table salt, margarine
and most vegetable oils with the exception of extra-virgin olive oil,
coconut and palm oils and especially real butter, which are great foods
that are safe for cooking.
Also, it is very important to limit refined sugars as much as
possible. As indicated in the book, Enzyme
Nutrition, Edward Howell MD writes:
added sugar (which includes raw honey and other natural sweeteners) in
various foods and drinks every day is a way of perpetuating chronic
overstimulation of the pituitary and pancreas glands. The thyroid and
adrenals also feel the brunt of the affront. The false craving and
feeling of well-being sugar induces is on par with the ecstasy
experienced when dope takes command in a victim's body. Therefore, far
overshadowing the damage resulting from sugar as a carrier of empty
calories is its capacity to destroy the delicate endocrine balance and
inaugurate a train of pernicious consequences."
Personally, when we followed a strict
vegan, mostly raw food diet (no animal products, no oils) with some
cooked grains, vegetables and fruit, we had an immediate healing and
cleansing effect, weight loss and lots of energy; but later (within 2
years) it was followed by an eventual drop in energy, feelings of
tiredness and irritability, and a discouraging, insatiable hunger most
of the time which only made us crave sweets, carbohydrates and starchy
Eventually we realized that something was not right. It seemed
sensible to us to re-evaluate our approach and learn from the ancient
traditions, go back to slow foods, foods that are locally available,
fresh, whole, pure, prepared the way they used to be (naturally
fermented, dried, slow cooked, etc.) and most of all, ignore all the
conflicting data that promote theories that remain unproven, untested
over the long term and which simply pass away in time as so many have
done in the past.
In conclusion, let us consider the profound wisdom of this
statement from the book entitled, Ancient
Dietary Wisdom for Tomorrow's Children:
"For a future of healthy children - for any future at all -
we must turn our backs on the dietary advice of sophisticated medical
orthodoxy and return to the foods of wisdom of our so-called primitive
ancestors, choosing traditional whole foods that are organically grown,
humanely raised, minimally processed and above all not shorn of their
vital lipid components."
It is important that we learn to shop for food differently. We
must learn to avoid pre-packaged, convenience foods and purchase
instead, organic meats, wild game, organic eggs, whole grains, seeds,
nuts, whole milk (unpasteurized and non-homogenized if possible), fresh
fruits and vegetables. We must figure out how to stay away from canned
and bottled foods. And most of all we must learn how to prepare these
simple, whole foods with care, using some of the tricks our ancestors
discovered. In this way we can create delicious, simple, healthy meals
at a fraction of the cost, as well as develop for ourselves the valuable
skills of natural preservation and whole food preparation.
biogenics, 8000 years of accumulated ancient wisdom from our primitive
foods - 25% of our daily diet
foods - 50% of our daily diet
foods -25% of our daily diet
foods - 0%
Foods - 25%
- clover, radish, fenugreek, broccoli
(Note: use alfalfa sparingly until more research is done. The
information given by health experts about eating alfalfa sprouts is
possibly ill advised. Alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid called canavannine which can be toxic to man and animals when taken in
quantity. Tests have shown that alfalfa sprouts inhibit the immune
system and can contribute to inflammatory arthritis and lupus. Primitive
societies have always avoided eating the alfalfa seed even when it was
readily available. They used the mature alfalfa plant for fodder, but
recognized the seed and tender young plants were not suitable for human
"baby" greens - wheat
grass, rye grass, sunflower greens, buckwheat lettuce, lentil greens,
garlic greens, onion greens, beet greens.
- raw, organic cultured dairy products from well nourished, grass fed
goats and cows,
raw milk, cultured butter, yoghurts, kefir, raw soured cream, cheeses,
etc. (if you can only get pasteurized whole milk, be sure it is not
ultra-pasteurized and not homogenized. Be sure to clabber the milk with
a little whey.)
- Raw, organic goat or cow milk (grass fed), cultured butter and cheese,
olive oil (for salads),
and palm oil (for baking and cooking),
such as whole flaxseed, sesame seed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seed (for
soaking or sprouting),
legumes: almonds, pecans, peanuts, walnuts, brazil, etc (soak shelled
nuts for 8 hours in salt water, drain, rinse and slow dry in oven at 150
degrees until crispy - 12 to 24 hours. This will prevent rancidity and
help the nuts store and digest easily since this process removes the
enzyme inhibitors and phytates.)
Foods - 50%
- Fresh, organic or homegrown raw fruit, some cooked or dried fruits.
- Fresh, organic or home grown vegetables, (raw and/or naturally
- Raw Honey, Rapadura, pure maple syrup, date sugar (avoid refined
sugars that are nutrient deficient such as corn syrup, white sugar,
turbinado, sucanat, fructose, Florida crystals, and concentrated fruit
juice.) Limit sweeteners only to
holidays, special occasions and no more than 2 or 3 times a week.
- Vegetable broth, structured
water, raw vegetable juices, lacto-fermented beverages such as whey.
Foods - 25%
Sources - (Strict vegetarians might
be wise to seriously consider eating raw, unpasteurized milk, cultured
butter, raw and cultured cheeses and cooked eggs in order to get
adequate fat soluble vitamin absorption and other biochemical benefits.)
free-range eggs from well-nourished, healthy chicken that have access to
sunshine, clean water and insects.
meat or fish broth.
from unpolluted lakes, river and ponds
Wild game or
home raised meat and fowl (grass fed animals should have plenty of
sunshine, fresh air, clean water)
unpastuerized and naturally fermented Goat or Cow milk from well
nourished animals that are grass fed.
Beans - white beans, kidney, pinto,
chickpea, lima, black, adzuki, split pea, etc. (Sprout or soak for 8-12
hours in salt and water and a little whey if available, then drain and
rinse well. Gently boil in fresh water and slowly remove the rising
foam, then slow cook for several hours with fresh onion, garlic,
-organically grown, sprouted or naturally fermented (yeast-free)
sourdough breads. Use as much whole grain as possible in your home baked
breads and avoid too much refined flour. Pre-soak wheat and rye flour
for 12 hours to make softer bread. Best to grind flour fresh as needed.
Avoid commercial yeast breads; choose naturally fermented sourdough
(non-gluten) whole grains such as brown rice, corn, quinoa, amaranth,
millet, buckwheat, oats, etc. (Corn meals should be soaked for 8 hours
in lime water to release Vitamin B3).
vegetables: carrots, celery, broccoli, potato, yam, etc. (potato and yam
can be soaked overnight in salt, water and whey just like legumes for
ease of digestion.)
- Celtic sea salt, apple cider vinegar, fresh or dried herbs, and spices
that are organic and non-irradiated.
Ten Essential Reasons Why
The food is often not fresh. It has been canned or frozen, heated
Grain products, especially breads, are not organic and are not
naturally fermented. They are generally prepared with genetically
modified ingredients and sometimes contain insects.
The food is often prepared or reheated in microwave ovens.
The vegetables are prepared with truck-ripened, gassed,
irradiated, non-organic produce.
The food is often prepared with rancid, polyunsaturated vegetable
oils or trans-fats (such as margarine, vegetable shortening, etc.)
that has been proven unhealthful. When food is cooked at high
temperatures with these oils it can become carcinogenic.
The prices charged at restaurants are generally unreasonable for
the level of quality received.
The food (unless it is organic) contains chemical additives,
artificial flavors, unnatural sweeteners, GMO ingredients,
preservatives, defoliants, immune suppressant compounds, thickeners, MSG
and a host of other unnatural substances.
The food sometimes contains excessive amounts of inorganic salt.
The food is prepared with unstructured and unfiltered water.
10. The environment of a restaurant is often filled with inferior, obnoxious music; loud talking and the food may be prepared or handled by disharmonious people.