Developing Good Judgement.
“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within a chance to go to work.” Albert Schweitzer, MD, 1940, Nobel Laureate & medical missionary
FROM NATURE’S PHARMACY:
Few foods can rival the bonanza of nutrition found in a banana. Available nearly everywhere nearly any time of the year. Comes in it own wrapper, like nature’s zip lock bag for a day trip. Grown in over 100 tropical countries throughout the world, the banana is 75% water and 25% solids, including a decent source of vitamin C, A, B-6 and magnesium; and a fantastic source of potassium…a mineral in which Americans are chronically deficient.
Bananas have a low glycemic index (do not dramatically raise blood glucose) and provide a nice boost of mental and physical energy. A medium banana has 108 kcal, 1 gram of protein, negligible fat, and a rich source of pectin, a soluble fiber that helps with regularity and lowering cholesterol levels in the blood.
Bananas are a favorite folk remedy for mild depression, premenstrual syndrome, hangovers, heart burn, obesity, and ulcers; use the inside of the peelings applied topically to accelerate healing of bug bites and warts. The FDA agrees with the ability of bananas to help lower blood pressure with its mighty potassium content. The pectin in a banana provides the “frosting on the cake” for many of my blender drinks. Throw in whatever fruits and vegetables into your high speed blender, then blend in ½ peeled banana for that smooth texture and keeping everything in solution. Peel bananas and freeze in a zip lock bag. Use ½ frozen banana to give your blender drinks a cold milk shake-like mouth feel. Great on hot summer days!
When sailing instructors teach you how to sail, they cannot show you around the world. They show you how to use the instruments of navigation– a sextant, compass and map–and hope you can fare well on your own. The purpose of this article is to condense the volumes of nutrition information into several easy-to-follow rules that become your navigation instruments in choosing the right foods. I have tried giving patients a detailed 2 week food intake program. By day 2, this patient is out of some food, then eats with a friend at a restaurant, then has dinner with the cousins–all of which throws the patient off their diet without any idea of knowing how to “wing it” or improvise. Use these ideas as a shortcut toward building good nutrition judgment in choosing foods and supplements that will prevent disease and build good health.
The KISS (keep it simple, student) method of optimal nutrition.
- Go natural. Eat foods in as close to their natural state as possible. Refining food often adds questionable agents (like food additives, salt, sugar and fat), removes valuable nutrients (like vitamins, minerals, and fiber) and always raises the cost of the food.
- Expand your horizons. Eat a wide variety of foods. By not focusing on any particular food, you can obtain nutrients that may be essential but are poorly understood while also avoiding a buildup of any substance that could create food allergies or toxicities.
- Nibbling is better. Eat small frequent meals. Nibbling is better than gorging. Our ancestors “grazed” throughout the day. Only with the advent of the industrial age did we begin the punctual eating of large meals. Nibbling helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and minimize insulin rushes; therefore has been linked to a lowered risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and mood swings.
- Seek out nutrient-dense foods. Maximize your intake of life-giving foods, including fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruit, low fat meat (turkey, fish, chicken) and clean water. Low fat dairy products, especially yogurt, can be valuable if you do not have milk allergies or lactose intolerance.
- Monitor your quality of weight, rather than quantity of weight. Balance your calorie intake with expenditure so that your percentage of body fat is reasonable. Pinch the skin fold just above the hipbone. If this skin is more than an inch in thickness, then you may need to begin rational efforts to lose weight. How much you weigh is not nearly as crucial as the percent of fat in the body. Most nutritionists agree that too much fat stored in the body (obesity) is a real killer. Buy a Tanita (Tanita.com) scale for measuring percent body fat.
- Eat enough protein. Take in about 1 gram of protein for each kilogram of body weight. Example: 150 pound patient. Divide 150 pounds by 2.2 to find 68 kilograms, yields 68 grams of protein daily is needed to regenerate a healthy body.
- Use supplements in addition to, rather than instead of, good food. Get your nutrients primarily with a fork and spoon. Do not place undo reliance on pills and powders to provide optimal nourishment while eating a poor diet. Supplements (such as ImmunoPower, from GettingHealthier.com) can provide minerals that are missing in our diet, vitamins that are removed in processing, bolster our nutrient intake beyond “surviving” (RDA) into “thriving” levels, and help us to better tolerate the myriad of toxins found in our 21st century planet.
- Shop the perimeter of grocery store. On the outside of your grocery store you will find fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, fish, chicken and dairy. Once you venture into the deep dark interior of the grocery store, nutritional quality of the foods goes way down and prices go way up. Organic produce is raised without pesticides and may be valuable in helping certain sensitive individuals. However, organic produce is unavailable or unaffordable for many people. Don’t get terribly concerned about having to consume organic produce. Any produce that cannot be peeled (like watermelon or bananas) should be soaked for 5 minutes in a solution of one gallon lukewarm clean water with 2 tablespoons of vinegar, which will remove pesticide residue.
- If a food will not rot or sprout, then don’t buy it or throw it out. Your body cells have similar biochemical needs to a bacteria or yeast cell. Foods that have a shelf life of a millennium are not going to nourish the body. Think about it: if bacteria is not interested in your food, then what makes you think that your body cells are interested? Foods that cannot begin (sprouting) or sustain (bacterial growth) life elsewhere, will have a similar effect in your body.
- Dishes should be easy to clean. Foods that are hard to digest or unhealthy will probably leave a mess on plates and pots. Dairy curd, such as fondue, is both difficult to clean and very difficult for your stomach to process.
- Same thing with fried, greasy or burned foods.
Essential Nutrient Pyramid
We need to recognize the priority placed on essential nutrients. We can live weeks without food, a few days without water and only a few minutes without oxygen. Keep in mind the relative importance of these essential nutrients.
Oxygen and water form the basis of human life. Make sure that your quality and quantity of intake pay homage to this fact. Protein, carbohydrate, fiber and fat form the next level of importance. Vitamins and minerals are the essential micronutrients required for health.
Above these essential substances are two levels of quasi (meaning “as if it were”) nutrients. Conditionally essential nutrients include Coenzyme-Q10, carnitine, EPA and GLA (fatty acids) and much more.
Some people may require these nutrients in the diet during certain stressful phases of their lives. Minor dietary constituents (MDCs) include a wide variety of plant compounds that have shown remarkable anti-cancer and health-promoting abilities. Indoles in the cabbage family, lycopenes in tomatoes, allicin in garlic, immune stimulants in sea vegetables and others make up this new and exciting category. Eating a wide variety of unprocessed plant foods will help to insure adequate intake of these quasi-nutrients.
Expect the existence of unknown essential nutrients.
As laboratory equipment becomes more sophisticated, we keep finding more substances in the food supply that can help or hurt us. Macronutrients, which are found in large amounts in the diet, were discovered first, and micronutrients second. An entire universe of “sub-micro” nutrients await us as we look at substances found in the food supply in parts per trillion.[tweetthis]Get your nutrients primarily with a fork and spoon![/tweetthis]
Not until laboratory equipment could detect pesticide residues and minor dietary constituents could we begin to appreciate their importance in health. If you asked a nutritionist in 1929 to talk about the importance of vitamin B-12 and selenium, they would have remarked “These nutrients don’t exist, because we can’t find them, therefore they aren’t important.” Similarly, there are “sub-nutrients” in whole food that are ignored today but will eventually be recognized for their important role in health.
Special Fatty Acids in Breast Milk
For example, infant formulas were first tried 3000 years ago and became fashionable with the royalty in Europe in the past 500 years. By 1700 AD, it was recognized that feeding your child animal milk rather than human breast milk brought nearly a 90% mortality rate. “Wet nurses” were peasant women brought in to breastfeed the children of nobility. By 1950, scientists felt confident that they could duplicate and even improve on breast milk. They were wrong. Since then, we have learned of the special fatty acids (EPA & GLA) contained in breast milk for brain development, the amino acid taurine for brain and sight, immunoglobulins that share mother’s acquired immunity with the newborn infant, substances that help mature the intestinal lining and the pancreatic cells, and much more.
Studies show that breastfed infants later in life are at lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, allergies, sudden infant death (SID) and even emotional problems. Still, breastfeeding is only beginning to make a comeback, with less than 20% of American mothers nursing their young. We thought that we could duplicate mother’s milk, but we really didn’t understand the elegant symphony of “sub-micro” nutrients that it contained. Same applies with our foods. The more that we tamper with our food supply, the more hard lessons we learn regarding the ornate and subtle blend of potent nutrients offered by nature.