Enjoy Vibrant Health In A Toxic World
More and more people are developing chronic illnesses, in fact, more than ever before. What's going on and what can be done about it?
Enjoy Vibrant Health In A Toxic World
Our Toxic Environment
"Environmental pollution is one of the most serious problems facing humanity today," states Alan McGowan, president of the Scientists' Institute for Public Information. Similarly, in an article entitled Global Change, scientist George M. Woodwell reported that scientists around the world believe that human activities are threatening the biosphere, the thin layer on the surface of the earth where life occurs. The biosphere maintains an incredible richness and variety of life, including human life; yet, in the final part of our century, humans are destroying the natural systems upon which life depends. After living for thousands and thousands of years in chemical balance, mankind in the last 100 years has literally changed the chemistry of our environment through the progressive poisoning of nature with the chemical by-products of modern agriculture, industry, power generation and transportation. The chemical changes these poisons cause are not confined to areas of local release. Scientists have found evidence of pollution everywhere on Earth, from the largest cities to the remote and isolate South Pole. To give you an example of the quantity of poison we are exposed to each year, consider the following amounts released into the environment in 1989 alone: Over 550,000,000 pound of industrial chemicals were dumped into public sewage storage. More than 1,000,000,000 pounds of chemicals were released into the ground, threatening our natural ground water sources. Over 188,000,000 pounds of chemical were discharged into surface waters, i.e. lakes and rivers. More than 2,400,000,000 pounds of air emissions were pumped into the atmosphere. The grand total of chemical pollutants released into the environment was 5,705,670,380 pounds. That is enough to fill a line of semi-trailers parked bumper to bumper, and having a cargo capacity of 45,000 pounds each, stretching from downtown Los Angeles to Des Moines, Iowa!
Toxins in Our Food
In the United States, we allow over 10,000 food and chemical additives into our food supply. The average American eats about 14 pounds of additives a year. In addition to food coloring, preservatives, flavorings, emulsifiers, humectants and antimicrobials, we consume on average 120 pounds of sugar and 8 pounds of salt.
With the number of bacteria in the colon being estimated at 10,000,000,000 per gram of fecal material, it is suggested that we have a greater number of bacteria than we have human cells. These bacteria release by-products; some of which have healthful effects, while others can be toxic.
Our Health May Be Adversely Affected!
Consider the example of Mr. Thomas Latimer, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Hours after treating his lawn with a pesticide, he experienced dizziness, nausea and a pounding headache that intensified. Despite extensive medical care, he continued to get worse and now suffers from visual and concentration difficulties, speech impairment, nightmares, brain seizures and takes anti-epileptic medication. He no longer rides a bike and even has difficulty walking. The collective medical opinion was that an anti-ulcer medicine he was taking suppressed his liver's ability to detoxify the pesticide he was exposed to. With his natural defenses compromised, the poison carried out a potent and ongoing attach on his nervous system. Mr. Latimer is not the only victim. Recent estimates suggest that each year there are 3,000,000 severe pesticide poisonings with 220,000 deaths worldwide. Pesticide-related illnesses in the United States are estimated to occur between 150,000 and 300,000 times a year. This situation begs an important question! What can we do to help protect ourselves from the damaging effects caused by toxins in our environment, food or even internal pollution?
Adequate Nutrition is Essential for Effective Detoxification
The body goes through a continuous cycle of activity in an effort to protect itself from the adverse effects of toxicity. This detoxification cycle is critically dependent on adequate nutrition. An alarming trend has developed in the last two decades; people may not be adequately nourished by the average American diet. After analyzing over 15,000 people, one study reported that "84% of the subjects are consuming sub-optimal diets with regard to one or more of the 17 nutrients evaluated.
Confused about what to eat?
You are not alone! Today more than ever before, you really need to understand more about food and nutrition. Some people feel best if they eat a low carbohydrate diet, while others feel best on a high fiber, high complex carbohydrate diet. Some people find they feel best on the Paleo Diet while others feel best on the Blood Type Diet, a vegan diet, or macrobiotic diet. Still others have food allergies. So the first rule of good nutrition is to pay attention to your own body and how you feel. This concept is called "biochemical individuality". Just as each of us have a different face and body type, each of us also have unique biochemical needs which are represented by the foods and supplements which make us feel best. Your nutritionist or nutritionally oriented health professional can help you sort what will work best for you.
The average American consumes 135 pounds of sugar and 14 pounds of food additives each year.
Second, Americans for the most part eat poorly. According to government statistics, we eat 18% of our calories each day as sugar, 18% as saturated fats, 17% in processed foods, and adults consume 3 - 10% of our calories each day in alcoholic beverages. When you add these up, we eat over half of our foods each day as high calorie, low nutrient density foods. So is it any wonder that over time we falls apart? All the major changes in our food supply have occurred since World War II. We transport foods differently. We grow foods from hybrid seeds. We use more pesticides and fungicides. We have microwave ovens and irradiated foods. We have frozen foods and more and more processed foods. Our food is different, but our bodies are the same. So what can we do to eat better? First, clear out all the foods you don't want to eat: clean out your refrigerator and freezer. Toss out any foods that contain hydrogenated vegetable oil, or vegetable shortening. These restructured "trans" fats are #1 on my hit-list! Industry uses them because they are cheap, have a long shelf life and give a buttery texture to foods. While this enables manufacturers to produce products that meet their needs, they don't meet yours! They've also been associated with atherosclerosis, some types of cancer and all inflammatory illnesses, like arthritis, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and more. These fats play at least as large a role in heart disease as do saturated fats. You'll find them in most crackers, cookies and packaged foods. While you're at it, now get rid of the high sugar foods, highly processed foods including white flour products, and food that contains a lot of food additives such as artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives. The average American consumes 135 pounds of sugar and 14 pounds of food additives each year. Sugar tastes good, but is considered an empty calorie because it depletes us of nutrients like chromium and B-complex vitamins, which are necessary for its metabolism but missing from sugar itself. It also displaces more nutritious food. White flour has lost about 70% of the nutrients of whole wheat flour. And while food additives have been tested singly, no one really knows what effects they have on us, long-term, in combination. In these categories, less is better.
Rules for Healthful Eating
Eat 90% of your food to nourish your body and 10% just for fun.
This is a major improvement over half for fun and half for health and it allows for the occasional chocolate chip cookie, glass of wine, or serving of steak. Your eating doesn't have to be perfect, just look for progress!
The life in foods gives us life.
When possible, eat local foods in season. They usually have the highest nutrient content and the greatest enzyme activity. Eat foods that will spoil. This insures that food still has life in it. Food is fuel and fuel gives us energy. Because we really are what we eat, if we eat foods that have little enzyme activity, they don't "spark" our body to work correctly. Enzymes are to our body what spark plugs are to the engine of our car. Without those sparks, the car doesn't run right. Processed foods are devitalized of these "sparks".
Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day.
Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with enzymes, vitamins, minerals and important phytonutrients such as carotenoids and bioflavonoids that protect us from cancer, heart disease, and most other chronic degenerative illnesses. Fruits and vegetables also provide us with fiber. Each month, we discover more about the marvels of produce.
Choose organically grown foods whenever possible.
The average American eats a pound of herbicides and pesticides each year. Organically grown foods generally have higher levels of nutrients because organic farmers pay more attention to their animals' health and to their soils. Bob Smith, from Doctor's Data, has released a study, which analyzed organic versus commercially grown apples, pears, potatoes, wheat and wheat berries. He found that the mineral levels in organically grown food were twice as high, on average, as commercially grown foods. Animals raised without hormones and antibiotics can't pass them along to us! Research is more strongly linking them with breast and prostate cancer each year.
Increase high-fiber foods
Americans eat 12 grams of fiber on average each day. Recommendations from the National Cancer Institute are to consume 20-30 grams of fiber daily - the same amount Americans ate in 1850. Richest sources are whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat, bulgur, millet, buckwheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats, quinoa), legumes, vegetables and fruits. Fiber protects our colon health, and reduces our risk of colon and breast cancer.
Eat adequate for your body type.
We find protein in virtually all food. Protein is the main building block of our body the matrix of bone, substance of muscle, our immune system, and many of our hormones. You can find excellent protein in fish, poultry, lean meats, legumes, low-fat dairy products, and eggs. Fruits and vegetables, and grains, also have excellent protein but in a smaller ratio. Nuts and seed provide protein, but watch out for the fat and calories they add up really fast! Your eating doesn't have to be perfect, just look for progress!
Eat high quality fats.
Fats found in fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines), nuts and seeds, and grains provide nutrients called essential fatty acids. Even though Americans eat a lot of fat, many of us are deficient in these protective oils. Make sure to get some every day.
Drink pure water. Find out about your water quality. Use a filtering system of some type to remove chlorine and toxic substances. These rules will work no matter which basic diet works for you. You can change the way you feel simply be eating better quality foods. Remember to make changes one step at a time.