A Discussion of Diet: What We Eat Profoundly Determines How We Feel
Diet should be the first thing we look at in diagnosing and treating disease. Often, just changing ones dietary habits immediately promotes better health. Ironically, nutrition is usually the last thing most physicians address. I have found that the majority of people who go on a good nutritious diet find that not only good health results, but the unexpected benefit of a heightened sense of well-being. Moreover, in many cases, ailments that often do not respond to drug therapy disappear when diet and lifestyle are changed.
In spite of the profound roles nutrients play in maintaining wellness, we are still rather oblivious when it comes to making wise food choices. If you dont believe that how you choose to satisfy your hunger can have far reaching health implications, think again. What we nonchalantly pop into our mouths sets off a series of complex chemical reactions that impact virtually every organ and every body system. Just look at the effects of caffeine consumption, for example. Caffeine stimulates the release of norepinephrine which can create a temporary energy surge. What is not commonly known is that it also inhibits the bodys ability to absorb vitamin B1, causes the body to lose magnesium, agitates the nervous system, stresses the adrenal glands and is 100 percent addictive.
The use of food to prevent or even treat disease is nothing new. Johns Hopkins University uses a ketogenic diet to successfully treat pediatric epilepsy; a treatment protocol that is rarely suggested by most physicians. While this diet has existed for decades, only a small percentage of parents who have an epileptic child know anything about it. Typically, soon after the childs first seizure, harsh anticonvulsant drugs are employed and no other alternative therapies are discussed. For many children, something as simple as producing ketones in the body, which the ketogenic diet accomplished, can decrease seizures and even cure a significant number of children. It becomes clear that food profoundly affects brain function, not to mention the rest of the bodys mechanisms.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, approximately 40 percent of all cancer in men and 60 percent in women is associated in one way or another with diet. Our choice of diet can either contribute to diseases like stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, heart attack, colon disease, cancer, etc., or it can help protect us from these potentially fatal afflictions. The first thing anyone should do who wants to maintain their health is to look at what theyre eating. Checking out the contents of your grocery cart can be very revealing. If all you see is processed, instant, sugary, fatty, snacky foods like yellow cheeses, bacon, red meat, high-fat milk, sour cream, hot dogs, crackers, chips, cookies, white rice, jello, instant potatoes, highly sweetened cereals and soda pop, things need to change. Instead, try to fill your cart with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain cereals and flours, dried beans of all varieties, brown rice, millet, lean white meats, olive oil, semolina pastas, part skim mozzarella cheese, low-fat active yogurts, tofu, etc. While it may take some doing, making the change from the first cart to the second is possible. To help you understand the necessity for such a change, lets look at our eating traditions and how they are ruining our health.
Typical American Eating Habits
Over the last three decades, we have witnessed dramatic changes not only in what we eat, but also when and how we eat. One of the biggest changes is that modern technology has created new edibles which have undergone countless chemical processes. We routinely consume new crop varieties that have been genetically engineered; beef, poultry and pork are commonly filled with hormones given to animals for quick fattening; and high-tech processing techniques inhibit the natural deterioration of processed meats like sausage or salami. New foods and synthetic food substitutes like a