Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Before you swallow ...

I’ve been doing research on diet now for a couple of years and trying out lots of things, some good, some bunk. What I’ve discovered is that virtually all health issues, good and bad, start the moment you swallow. Good diet equals good living, and vice versa. Here’s what I’ve found:

1) Raw food diet. I was on this diet for six months. It meant not eating cooked food. I was about 80% raw food overall. I found that I had more energy for three months and could jog better and was more alert. But after the three months, I found my energy waning a bit and my gums starting getting sore and my ligaments had less elasticity. I was simply not getting enough quality protein. I gradually reintroduced meats cooked rare or medium rare and fish, and my gums stopped being sore and my ligaments regained elasticity. I’m still probably about 40% raw. This seems to be a good balance for me. My digestion is the best in my life, including childhood. I had intestinal gas problems my whole life up until Kelly got me on more natural foods five years ago, but still had slight problems with that. I now have zero gas problems, which means that my body is now properly digesting all of my proteins. I can even drink milk or eat rice and have no gas issues. This has had the added benefit of making me stronger and providing more endurance and making me capable of shaking disease faster or not getting sick when I would have formally. I’ve noticed that my posture is better, too. Also, I now NEVER have any issues in the bathroom. That’s mind-blowing to me because it had been commonplace before.

2) With rare exception, I don’t eat processed foods, empty carbs and diet drinks. This means no potato chips, crackers, white bread, sugar, canned food, frozen food, deli meat, mayonnaise, hot dogs, pastries, etc. Almost all diet-research sites blast these “foods,” and rightly so. They are simply man-made junk. Worse, they are toxic to the human body. Whenever I eat any of them, I feel the difference in my body within 30 minutes to an hour: lethargy, fuzziness, queasiness, digestion issues. Eating them on a daily basis is, I think, what causes almost all illnesses known to mankind, including cancer, achy joints, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, consistent digestion issues, etc.

3) Supplements. If you’re eating right, I think supplements are generally just a waste of time. The exceptions to this rule are when a person’s body doesn’t produce or digest certain minerals very well. How do you discover that? Mostly trial and error and paying attention to your body. All that said, I think our bodies become a little less efficient at digestion as we age, so I recommend the following on No. 4.

4) The one great thing about a raw food diet is that you get all of the digestion enzymes that you need to digest ALL of the food you eat, thereby cleansing your intestines and preventing toxins from leaking into your body. (sounds pretty yucky, and it IS). Since we cook much of our food (something our primitive ancestors largely didn’t do), we have to get the probiotics (good bacteria) and healthy fatty acids and enzymes from another source. After much testing on different products, I recommend Green Vibrance, which Marita recommended to me a year ago. It is nothing short of miraculous for good digestion and dietary well-being. You can find it at some health food stores or at places like . It’s a bit expensive but will last for two months. Keep it frozen to ensure quality. I also recommend taking a spoonful of cold-water fish oil (I take cod liver oil) for Omega 3 acids, which help with arterial and joint health ( ). Flaxseed oil is another great source of Omega fatty acids. Here’s a good site on its benefits: . Because most of us don’t get high-enough quality protein (there IS a difference in protein), we usually need some amino acid supplement, especially if we’re working out. I highly recommend MAP (Master Amino Acid Pattern), which is the highest quality protein on the planet. Since I started taking MAP five months ago, my muscles have gained strength and bulk, and my energy has increased, and my soreness after working out has decreased. Here’s an article on protein quality at the Bodyhealth site that sells MAP: . These four things (Green Vibrance, fish oil, flax oil, MAP) I consider to be objectively good, after doing research and conducting tests on my own body. The one test I’m still conducting is on organic wheat grass. It allegedly provides pure chlorophyll, enzymes and more. I’ve been taking it for 4 months, but because my other four things mentioned above have put my body in a good place, it’s hard for me to know whether the wheat grass is helping or not. There’s not enough scientific evidence on it yet, and no confined experiments have been conducted. I like the IDEA behind wheat grass, so I will continue to use it for a while and see if I can notice any difference. One last thing on supplements. I don’t think most of us get enough Vitamin D in winter because we aren’t exposed to the sun nearly enough, so you can do one of two things: expose yourself to the sun every day for 15 minutes (in a bedroom by a window while reading) or take Vitamin D supplements. This will help prevent sickness and promote bone strength.

I went through my life with the mistaken impression that my strenuous exercise would always keep me in good health. It was a horrible misconception. It was Kelly that woke me up on diet, so I’ll always thank her for that. What has impressed me about my research in the last couple of years is the objectivity concerning what the body needs. No two bodies are exactly alike, but by and large, the above holds true for everyone, as far as I can tell. The minute a person starts eliminating the poisons from his/her diet, the body and mind start responding. It may take a couple of weeks to start feeling the difference, but it will come. Once you get it in a good place, then the splurges of tacos or pizzas are no big deal. If a person adds exercise to the above, then health and longevity should be the consequence.

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