Healthy Foods: Foods That Heal

Healthy foods are no longer just “weird foods” eaten by a few “alternative lifestyle” individuals. Healthy foods are becoming more and more mainstream as the average person is seeing that the results of eating nutrient poor, junk food on their health and the health of their loved ones. Nutrition is a hot health topic, and rightly so, since good quality, foods not only make you feel better, but can help to prevent and reverse disease.

“He who does not know food, how can he understand the diseases of man?” (Hippocrates, the father of medicine 460-357B.C.)

Isn’t that a great quote? In case you don’t know, the “Hippocratic Oath” that most doctors take, comes from this time of ancient Greek medicine. It is significant how far the medical community has strayed from the simple basics of good health through nutrition.

Medical doctors, to whom we have entrusted our health because we have not yet learned to care for it ourselves, studied disease rather than health in medical school. Their curriculum included very little on nutrition and foods, lots of focus on pharmaceutical drugs, and how those drugs would alleviate (cover up) symptoms of disease. But they are just a cover up, not a cure. The cure is in your diet: what you eat, and what you don’t eat. Your average medical doctor has absolutely no training in holistic medicine, which involves working with the body as a whole system and healing, not just the disease, but the whole body.

There are a lot of companies in the marketplace, producing products that are not only nutrient poor, but they are just plain unhealthy. These same companies are taking your hard earned dollars and feeding you food that causes diseases. It’s that old bottom line: profit at any cost, even your health.

Now, you can buy into all of this, and succumb to the junk food sellers, or you can decide to live a life with radiant health by finding a healthier and more life affirming relationship with your body and the food you eat. As you will hear (see) me say throughout this site: It is your decision.

The Goal Of This Section

My goal with your-guide-to-health-and-wellness, is to introduce you to relevant, researched information, and encourage you to develop the desire to know more. There are other links on the site that serve the same function, and will help you find that balance between healthy foods and unhealthy foods, to help you change your life.

Whether you are a Vegetarian, an Omnivore, or you fall someplace in between, this section, and other areas of our site are for you.

Digestion Begins In Your Mouth

I won’t go into the whole process of digestion, for those of you who would like to know more about that, you can go to your digestive process (temporarily under construction) in this site. For now, I will keep it very simple. When you take a bite of food and chew it:

• Digestion starts immediately with the action of your saliva;

• Breaking down starch;

• And initiating carbohydrate digestion.

Chewing also liberates the enzymes present in the food so that they can perform their function in the upper or food enzyme portion of the stomach. This simple, conscious action helps the rest of your system work effectively to extract the nutrients that you need to stay healthy and function. It’s a pretty amazing process. So, yes, chew your food!

Getting The Most Out Of Our Food

One of the more obvious purposes of healthy food consumption is to meet the body’s needs for essential nutrients as well as its energy requirements.

The first concern is the quality of the food. You are probably familiar with the different tables listing the nutrient content of particular foods. Yet, it is not just a standard table of numbers and values since every food can have different values depending on several factors such as;

• Where it was grown;

• What kind of soil it was grown in;

• Mineral content of the soil;

• How far it was transported;

• If it was picked “green”;

• For meat products, what the animal was fed;

• For seafood, whether or not it contains heavy metals;

• Etc.

All of these factors have an effect on the final quality of the food we eat. Before I go any further, let me try to clarify this whole process for you. I know that some of my readers will be saying “yeah, whatever, I’ll just leave it up to the supermarket.” You can do that, it’s your choice, but keep in mind that the importance of your food quality, or lack of it may come back to haunt you in the future.

Look at it this way: if you were going to buy a new car, and you were in a position where you could pay cash for it, would you leave it up to the salesman (or woman) as to the color, the stereo, the sunroof, the rims, the tires and so forth? Of course not, you would want what you decided on, not someone else.

How much more important is your body that you will live in for 60 to 100 years than a new car which will last for maybe 5 or 6 years? The choices you make now will definitely determine your health in the future. It’s that important.

The Soil

It’s amazing to me that people are not more concerned with what kind of soil their food is grown in. One of the major influences in healthy foods, is the nutrient quality of the food you eat, and, for that matter, the quality of the food that animals eat—who you may eventually eat—is the soil in which it is grown. It is all a food “chain” starting with what every part of the chain is eating.

Deficient soil cannot help but produce deficient plants as well as deficient animals. Unlike marine plants and animals which come from a mineral rich environment, land plants and land animals produced on mineral deficient soil will tend to be mineral deficient.

A major obstacle to obtaining adequate levels of minerals from the food we eat is that most of our modern food supply is grown in worn out, mineral-depleted soil. Decades of growing with chemicals has been a major contributor to this problem, not rotating crops and not growing soil beneficial crops has been another problem.

We used to live in the “Palouse” area of Idaho, where the top soil is 30 feet thick in a lot of areas. Wheat, lentils and peas are the main crops, the same crops grown on the same fields year after year. I noticed several times that there was a bare strip extending across a whole field, surrounded by healthy “looking” plants. I was curious so I asked a farmer what the deal was. He told me that some of the fertilizer tubes were plugged on the tractor, so the crop could not grow in that area. That’s amazing! Even with rain, sun and warm temperatures, the tiny plants died. The soil was essentially dead, with no worms, no living organisms, no nutrients.

The point of that story is that those crops, and others grown on land like that throughout the United States, are your food. Think about that. Do you think you can live on artificial fertilizers? Do you think you can maintain good health into your old age eating food like that? It is the same with the animals that are fed those crops, there is very little nutrition in them, thus there is very little nutrition in their meat. The land simply cannot produce healthy foods using modern agricultural practices.

There are numerous studies going all the way back to the 1930s that show there is a serious problem with mineral depletion of the soils. For more information on minerals, and how they can affect your health, go to: Vitamins and Minerals.

For detailed information about how each vitamin and mineral works in your body, and where to find them in food sources, go to: Vitamins and Minerals for Optimum Health

Eat Well, Live Well

I will mention again that it is not so much what we ingest that nourishes us, but what we actually manage to assimilate (absorb). We can do a number of things to improve the availability of nutrients from our food. These include having an abundance of raw foods in the diet, using food enzyme supplements, and maintaining the beneficial microbes in our digestive system.

What Should I Eat?

That’s pretty easy. There are so many different foods and ways to fix them that you can always stay inspired---even if you don’t really like to cook. Changing or adding to your usual way of eating should be fun, and always keep in mind that your goal is the best health you can possibly have, now and in the future. Just remember that there is so much good food out there that you will never get bored with your diet! Not only that, healthy foods really taste GOOD. Try looking in the natural foods section of your supermarket, there are even healthy frozen meals now.

Fresh and Raw Foods

We should eat a lot of fresh and raw foods. Enzymes and other nutrients are destroyed by cooking, even at low temperatures, see: . Food Preparation In general, a raw food will have more nutritional value than the same food when it is cooked. There are exceptions to this rule, where certain foods are preferable when they are cooked. Enzymes naturally present in raw food aid in digestion and in our overall assimilation of nutrients. Some foods are rich sources for these enzymes, others are not. You can also take food enzyme supplements to help balance it all out.

Eat Organic

Whenever possible, try to eat organic foods. Organic foods are generally free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, and other harmful chemicals. Organic produce is also naturally higher in antioxidants and vitamins. If you must buy conventional produce, focus on those least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues. Try asparagus, avocado (my personal favorite!), broccoli, cabbage, pineapple, sweet corn, sweet peas Kiwi, and onions.

You can also juice just about anything in either a special juicer, or just use your blender to make a smoothie. You can even put things like lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, etc right into the blender. We actually prefer this method over juicing since you get all of the "roughage", or fiber when you drink it. You will have to experiment with what combination tastes the best to you!

Why Should I Worry About Pesticides?

The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. We’ve all watched or read a “murder mystery” where someone was slowly being poisoned until the poison built up in their body and they died. It’s a similar situation with the pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that we eat every day in our food. The difference between the murder mystery victim is that now you know someone is poisoning you and your family. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.

Research has also found that people who eat the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables, consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. With all of the other environmental toxins, from our drinking water, air pollution, home toxins, etc, we absolutely must start to change what we are doing. If enough people refuse to buy contaminated, irradiated, genetically altered, pesticide contaminated foods, the companies that produce them have no choice but to change. As long as people continue to support these companies, they will continue to poison us, our children, and contribute to the decline of family health.

For a real eye opening video put together by an 11 year old, who knows more about nutrition, minerals and pesticides than most people, go to: Birke's video.

In Conclusion

I know that I have only scratched the surface of foods that heal. I will continue with more information as time permits since there are a lot of important areas of improving your health and wellness, and that of your family. You can travel through our other sections of this site for more information.

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