Nutrition, Diet, and Wellness
(courtesy of prescription for nutritional healing James F. Balch, M.D. Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C)
The human body is a complex organism with the ability to heal itself – if only we listen to it and respond with proper nourishment and care. In spite of all the abuse our bodies take – whether exposure to environmental toxins, poor nutrition, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption or inactivity – it still usually serves us well for many years before it starts to break down. Even then, with a little help, it usually responds and continues to function.
Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Everyone needs the four basic nutrients – water, carbohydrates, proteins and fats, these are the basic building blocks of a good diet – as well as vitamins, minerals and other micro nutrients. By choosing the healthiest forms of these nutrients, and eating them in the proper balance, we enable our body to function at its optimal level. It is our human nature to sometimes be on the brink of self destruction before we make the necessary changes in our lives!
The human body is two-thirds water. Water is an essential nutrient that is involved in every function of the body. It helps transport nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. It is necessary for all digestive, absorption, circulatory, and excretory functions, as well as for the utilization of the water-soluble vitamins. It is also needed for the maintenance of proper body temperature. By drinking an adequate amount of water each day – at least 8 – 8 ounce glasses, (4-16 oz water bottles) we can ensure that our bodies will have all they need to maintain good health.
Carbohydrates supply the body with the energy it needs to function. It is found almost exclusively in plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables peas and beans. Milk and milk products are the only foods derived from animals that contain a significant amount of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are divided into two groups – simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates include – fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (table sugar), and lactose (milk sugar), as well as several other sugars. Fruits are one of the richest natural sources of simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are also made up of sugars, but the sugar molecules are strung together to form longer, more complex chains. Complex carbohydrates include fiber and starches. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include vegetables, whole grains, peas and beans. Carbohydrates are the main source of blood glucose, which is a major fuel for all the body’s cells and the only source of energy for the brain and red blood cells. Except for fiber, which cannot be digested, both simple and complex carbohydrates are converted into glucose. The glucose is then either used directly to provide energy for the body, or stored in the liver for future use. When a person consumes more calories than the body is using, a portion of the carbohydrates consumed may also be stored in the body as fat.
Protein is essential for growth and development. It provides the body with energy, and it is needed for the manufacture of hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and tissues. It also helps maintain the proper acid-alkali balance in the body. When protein is consumed, the body breaks it down into amino acids, the building blocks of all proteins. Some of the amino acids are designated nonessential. This does not mean that they are unnecessary, but rather that they do not have to come from the diet because they can be synthesized by the body from other amino acids. Other amino acids are considered essential, meaning that the body cannot synthesize them, and therefore must obtain them from the diet.
In order for the body to ‘make’ a protein – build muscle, it needs a variety of amino acids for the protein-making process. These amino acids may come from dietary protein or from the body’s own pool of amino acids. If a shortage of amino acids becomes chronic, which can occur if the diet is deficient in essential amino acids, the building of protein in the body stops, and the body suffers. Because of the importance of consuming proteins that provide all of the necessary amino acids, dietary proteins are considered to belong to two different groups, depending on the amino acids they provide. First group is Complete Proteins, containing ample amounts of ALL of the essential amino acids. These proteins are found in meat, fish, cheese, eggs, and milk. Second group is Incomplete Proteins, which contain only some of the essential amino acids, these proteins are found in a variety of foods, including grains, legumes, and leafy green vegetables. When the body makes a protein, (builds muscle), it needs a variety of amino acids for the protein making process. These amino acids may come from dietary protein or from the body’s own pool of amino acids. If a shortage of amino acids becomes chronic, which can occur if the diet is deficient in essential amino acids, the building of protein in the body stops, and the body suffers.
Fats are composed of building blocks called fatty acids. There are three major categories of fatty acids – saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. Saturated Fats – are found in animal products, including dairy items such as whole milk, cream and cheese, and fatty meats like beef, lamb, pork and ham. The fat marbling you can see in beef and pork is made up of saturated fat. Some vegetable products such as coconut oil, palm kernel oil and vegetable shortening are also high in saturated fats. The liver uses saturated fats to make cholesterol. Therefore, excessive dietary intake of saturated fats can significantly raise the blood cholesterol level and it is recommended we keep our saturated fats to 10 percent of total calories, for people with high blood cholesterol it may be suggested even lower. Polyunsaturated Fats – are found in corn, soybean, safflower and sunflower oils. Certain fish oils are high in Polyunsaturated fats. Your total blood cholesterol levels can be lowered by eating polyunsaturated fats, but as is the case with all fats, they high in calories and therefore the total caloric intake should also be limited to 10 percent. Polyunsaturated oils can be altered through hydrogenation, a process used to harden liquid vegetable oils to produce solid foods like margarine and shortening, these fats are then referred to as Trans-fatty acids or Trans fat.
Monounsaturated Fats – are found mostly in vegetable and nut oils such as olive, peanut and canola. These fats can also help to reduce blood cholesterol levels. The recommended total caloric intake is 10-15 percent. Although most foods contain a combination of all three types of fatty acids, one of the types usually predominates.
The Micronutrients: Vitamins and Minerals
Like water, carbohydrates, protein and fats, vitamins and minerals are essential to life, and are considered nutrients. For the average adult who is not suffering from any specific disorder, it is best to obtain as much as possible from food sources. A diet high in nutrients is the key to good health.
Acid/Alkaline (PH) Balance
We must consume both alkaline and acid ash-forming foods daily for optimum health.
To effectively neutralize acid ash-forming foods, you need an alkaline reserve.
Consuming 75% alkaline ash-forming foods will achieve an alkaline reserve.
The acids from proteins, grains and dairy products are easily neutralized by the organic minerals found primarily in water and enzyme-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, sea vegetables and herbs.
To maintain proper PH balance, you should consume 75% alkalizing foods by weight, and 25% acid forming foods by weight. The typical western diet has reversed these numbers, and degenerative diseases are afflicting more people at a younger age with numbers rising.
Eat some raw food every week – fruits and vegetables or juice them, seeds, salads, nuts, sea vegetables, fermented vegetables or herbal garnishes.
Drink 8-12 glasses of pure water every day.
Consume green powdered foods, called “superfoods” unheated and containing : spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa, barley and wheat grasses, beet juice powder, soy lecithin, dairy free probiotic cultures, and herbs, to reduce your excess acidity immediately and bring you to superior energy, balance and sense of well-being that comes from being alkaline. As well as eating in-season organically grown local fruits, vegetable, seeds, nuts, yogurt, herbs, alkaline spices, grains, legumes and soy products.
**You can obtain some PH paper made by Greens + at a drug store or health food store and monitor your PH levels and measure alkalinity.
How to use Greens + PH paper/monitor your PH levels
- 1. Tear off a small piece of PH paper from the roll, about 2.5cm (1 inch)
- 2. Both saliva and urine are equally effective. Choose the one that you are most comfortable with. Place the PH paper in contact with a sample of your saliva (do not place the PH paper directly into your mouth). Alternatively, you may use a passage of your urine, collected mid-stream unto a paper cup.
- 3. Once the saliva/urine makes contact with the PH paper, immediately compare the paper’s color to the color code provided on the PH dispenser.
- 4. To get an accurate measure of your state of health, it is recommended that PH levels be recorded 3X a day – morning, afternoon and night – for 30 days. Perform the test approximately the same time every day.
- 5. An ideal range for PH should be 6.2 to 7.4, typically fluctuating as follows:
6.2 to 7.0 at 7AM
6.6 to 7.2 at 3PM
7.0 to 7.4 at 9PM
If your PH level ranges between 4.5 and 5.5 you may have Acidosis, in the initial stages your energy may still be excellent. However, over time, the body will go into “burn out” mode as the aging process accelerates.
If your PH level ranges between 7.5 and 8.0 you may have Alkalosis, in this state, sluggishness and lethargy are common, – “the fires of life” are cooling down. If your PH is 7.5 to 8 or more at each testing and you are not a vegan who is not consuming enough protein, this could be a sign that your kidneys are secreting ammonia into your system to try to counterbalance the effects of an acid-producing diet or situation. This situation is serious, and should be addressed immediately. A dramatically fluctuating PH level, from high acid to high alkaline, could be responsible for mood swings and sudden energy drops.
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