There are new paradigms, big changes, and a whole lot of rethinking going on in the world of food. Genetically modified foods are different from those that have been selective bred. “Natural” foods mean nothing when looking for foods that are healthful, because things like arsenic and sugar are “natural.” They are found in nature, but they are not good to eat. On the other hand, rich, thick cream is a fantastic food! So is lard, and bacon. Who knew?
You may have heard of the “paleo” diet, but only some paleo advocates understand the evolutionary basis of the nutrition that supports life-long health. In a future lesson, I’ll share what I know of the intense research done by Weston A. Price, a dentist. Most of his research was done nearly a hundred years ago, and culminated in his1939 publication of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. This book details a series of ethnographic nutritional studies he performed across diverse cultures, which were selected because they were the least changed and most isolated from outsiders, including small groups of indigenous people from 14 locations all over the world. Until recently he appears to have been ignored, but other cleaver researchers are again seeing without the blinders and influences of corporate interests.
If you are eating a plant-based diet: GREAT! You should be. However, if you are vegan, you probably know how difficult it is to get all the necessary nturients when animal sources are totally avoided. We evolved eating animal protein and saturated fats. These provide some nutrients that plants can’t, especially if our health is sub-optimal, such as during middle age, when some metabolic pathways don’t function well.
Forced by my own daughter’s health challenges, I have read many dozens of books, and thousands of web-pages over the past 3 years, leading to fundamental changes in our family’s regular diet.
Our health and vitality has improved in many amazing ways in these few years and I now truly believe that most of us can either cure or improve many of the syndromes that we are currently living with and can even expect to limit or remove medications from our daily lives by making some simple changes that increase our consumption of nutrient dense foods. Even people who don’t have health issues or who are too young to notice them would do well to eat in ways that will keep them in optimal health. It is harder to notice “better” health when it is already pretty good. My 64 year-old body, however, has been able to give me great feedback on what makes me feel significantly stronger physically and mentally.
Over the next year, I will regularly provide short lessons on the changes I have discovered and applied that I think will be most useful to the general population. I will refer to papers in The Urantia Book occasionally as well. I no longer believe that the “message” of the UB teachings is that we should strive to be vegetarian or even vegan, which I believed for many years. I will also be providing book reviews, web-sites, and explanations for the suggestions I make, as many of them are not what currently passes for conventional
Let’s start with the five most important steps to improving our everyday diet:
- Personally prepare as much of the food you eat as you possibly can: convenience and packaged foods contain things you should NOT be eating.
- Dramatically reduce the “empty carbs.” These foods include anything with sugar and starch (in their many, many forms), which includes all wheat and other grain products. Buy half as much bread, pasta, rice, white potato, and other “white” food products next year, then cut it in half again, and again, over the next couple of years. Do the same with all the desserts. That will wipe out a whole lot of meals and foods most of us have been eating. Learn to like water: completely ditch sodas and other sugar drinks (also known as “liquid candy”). Sugar messes up your body horrifically; starches all turn to sugar pretty fast in the metabolic process. Once your taste buds adjust to less sugar, a lemon wedge squeezed into a glass of water tastes great!
- Don’t buy anything that contains soybeans or soybean oil, even in restaurants. Soy is a great legume for nitrogen-fixing our soils. It is not a good food. Search “problems with soy” before you ever buy any more, and I think, like me, you will not “reduce your intake of soy,” you will eliminate it.
- Don’t buy canola oil or foods that contain it. Read labels, if soybean or canola oil is in a product then don’t buy it! Don’t reduce the consumption of these high-heat, high profit, manufactured oils. Eliminate them. They contain trans-fat (even when the label say 0% trans-fats; their manucturers know how to legally lie). Eating trans-fats is like eating plastic.
- Replace all those empty carbs, the soy products, and the manufactured “vegetable oils” with nutrient dense foods:
- leafy greens and other fresh, organic veggies of every color
- sweet potatoes and yams are better than white potatoes
- raw milk, cheese, butter, cream and other high quality animal fats
- pastured meats and eggs from pastured chickens, and non-farmed fish.
Eating animal products that come from feedlots or tiny cages is not only cruel to the animals, but you are still eating the soy-food that has been fed to them, which is not good. Yes, you will pay more for high quality, real food. But you will either pay a bit more now, or far more later for pharmaceuticals and nursing-care, which will be the result of eating lower quality foods.
Your body does not need much animal protein, the bulk of your diet should be plant based: lots and lots of veggies, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, and legumes. I will be talking more about the huge importance of such things as fermented foods and bone broths in future columns. It is all about nutrient density.
Some people want more study, more data, and are not sure about some of this advice. Other investigators have made excellent cases that we have abundant proof that we need to go back to what has been working well during the previous 50,000 generations. Stay tuned, I think you will agree.