Thursday, March 10, 2011

Which Do You Choose?


A disease promoting diet? A cancer promoting diet? A health promoting diet?
Or like most people, a diet somewhere in between.

I have studied nutrition for 30 years reading books written by doctors in the know. I have consulted with these doctors through phone calls, emails, and through being involved on their listserves. I feel I have a good basic understanding of what food and drink is healthy, and what is not.
Now when I look at an individual food or drink, I am aware if it
1) contains health promoting qualities, if it 2) contains disease promoting qualities, or if it 3) contains both health and disease promoting qualities. Generally if a food or drink contains any disease promoting qualities, I try to stay away from it.

This is my contention: 'If a food or drink is considered to contain a disease promoting quality, it may promote some form of cancer.

Any food or drink that affects your system in a negative way promotes some form of disease.'

http://www.cancerproject.org/diet_cancer/index.php#

"What we eat and how we treat our bodies on a daily basis have a very powerful effect on our health and quality of life. Although cancer can affect many different parts of the body, the foods that prevent cancer and deter cancer growth are generally the same. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes all have important nutrients and other cancer-fighting substances like phytochemicals and pectin that strengthen immune function and destroy cancer-causing substances before they cause harm. Research has shown that people who eat a diet free of animal products, high in plant foods, and low in fat have a much lower risk of developing cancer."

Food and drink that have disease or possibly cancer promoting qualities:

All food and drink from animals

Any kind of processed sugar

Any kind of salt except for the natural sodium in plants

Any kind of processed oil, including olive oil and coconut oil

Any refined grains not in their whole, natural form- white flour products are especially unhealthy

Any food or drink that contains concentrated sweeteners, artificial ingredients, artificial additives, artificial colorings, preservatives, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil

Alcohol, coffee, all kinds of soft drinks, energy drinks, etc.

I know, coffee is controversial. Is the jury still out?
It is my contention that because it:
1) raises heart rate/blood pressure
2) raises estrogen levels in women (excess estrogen promotes breast cancer)
3) leaches calcium from your system
4) irritates some people's stomachs
5) is addictive
leads me to believe coffee contains a disease promoting quality. Therefore it promotes disease, although I believe it does have some benefits. It contains anti-oxidant qualities. Coffee is also used for medicinal purposes in Gerson therapy.) http://www.gerson.org/

It is my contention that substances that have both pros and cons nutrition-wise should be enjoyed in moderation.

If something is processed, bottled, or packaged you can generally assume it has some disease promoting qualities. Frozen vegetables and frozen fruit are exceptions, however fresh is healthier. Whenever plants are frozen there is some nutrient and flavor loss. Raw, unsalted, unroasted almond butter or tahini (ground sesame seed butter) in glass jars are also healthy exceptions. All nuts and nut butters plus avocados are high in saturated plant fat, so eat in moderation.

Food and drink that promote good health:

Any raw or healthily cooked plant foods (healthily cooked means lightly steamed or boiled in a soup)
These include fruit, vegetables, beans (legumes), raw/unsalted/unroasted seeds and nuts, and whole grains.

If a plant food is in its natural form- whole natural food- unprocessed- you can assume it promotes good health. Think of it this way:

The healthiest food on the earth comes either right off a tree, or from the ground- from a garden or a farmer's field.

Of course if the plant food has not been sprayed with poison (insecticides/pesticides/fungicides)- organic- it is indeed the healthiest plant food on the earth.

Center your diet around raw vegetables, raw fruit, and raw nuts and seeds. They by far offer you the most health benefits of any food on earth. Consider a salad with a variety of your favorite raw vegetables/raw fruit/raw nuts and seeds the healthiest part of your meal. Caution: Take it easy on the salad dressing. The majority of store bought dressings have large amounts of unhealthy fat/oil/sweeteners. You can learn to make your own healthier dressings. One source for recipes is Joel Fuhrman's book Eat For Health. drfuhrman.com
John McDougall has several great books with healthy recipes.
drmcdougall.com
Another great source for recipes:
http://www.all-creatures.org/recipes.html

The healthiest drink for people is good clean water.
Freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice- from a juicer- is very healthy.

Very few people eat perfectly, me included. A raw plant food diet-
often called "The Garden of Eden Diet"- may be the healthiest diet.
Raw foodists profess that any cooked plant foods are "dead food"-
that your organs have to expend extra energy to digest this dead food.
They profess that plant food contains live nutrients that promote perfect digestion.

So where do you fall? Most people fall somewhere in the middle of a disease promoting and health promoting diet.
The best thing you can do is continually try to educate yourself what foods are healthy and which are not.
Baby steps work well for some. Some take out many unhealthy food groups "cold turkey."

How long would you like to live? How healthy would you like to be when you are older, say 70 years old or older? It's never too late to make healthy changes. The point is, the healthier you eat and drink now, the healthier you'll be as you age. This is an important point: the healthier you eat and drink- the slower you age. It only makes sense. The healthier your diet/the easier you are on your organs- the longer they will last- the slower you will age. The more unhealthy food and drink you consume/the more you put your organs through- the quicker they will wear out- the faster you will age.

The road to good health leads to a plant-based diet. If you need a map, read any book by Joel Fuhrman, MD, John McDougall, MD, Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr, MD, or Neal Barnard, MD. You can find used copies on http://www.amazon.com/, or go to http://www.drfuhrman.com/, http://www.drmcdougall.com/, http://www.heartattackproof.com/, or http://www.youtube.com/user/PCRM. If you have 10 minutes watch the video from Dr. Barnard from the afore mentioned youtube link.
It is great! If you have kids, watch it for their sake.