Good nutrition is fundamental to good physical health. You cannot expect to have a healthy body if you choose to run it on junk. Much of the energy that we draw from our food is actually channelled back to service DIGESTION, ABSORPTION, CIRCULATION and ELIMINATION. The rest of our body energy is used in the processes of thinking, working and playing. Unfortunately, in modern society, there is another factor which is a crippling drain on bodily resources (and I cant stop banging on about it!) - this is STRESS.
Our cells are the smallest living units of our bodies, and each cell is like a tiny factory. Cells must be nourished completely and constantly, and the waste efficiently eliminated. If this is not done, the cell will either function inefficiently or it will die. Health begins and ends at the cellular level and it is here where we must focus our attention.
The first stage in meeting the nutritional requirements of each cell is digestion. Inefficient digestion, which is the breaking down of food into its tiniest components, spells immediate problems. Similarly, if the absorption of these digested foods is not occurring, then nutrients cannot get to the cells.
When we eat processed, low quality foods, we not only deprive our body of crucial nutrients, but we also burden it further with the more difficult task of ELIMINATING them. Vital energy used in the process of digesting and detoxifying valueless food, and then eliminating it’s heavy, fibreless waste leaves much less energy available for the good things in life. There is also much less energy available for our IMMUNE SYSTEM and other vital functions. This all contributes to a corresponding reduction in health.
The lifestyle of the cave person, or ancient hunter-gatherer is probably the best example to help us understand our nutritional requirements as human beings.
So, what did the hunter-gatherer eat? Since they had no storage facilities for their food and a limited means and ability to cook, it's not unfair to assume that these people ate a very simple diet of fresh food, most of which would have been eaten raw and on the spot - the true meaning of fast food!
Theirs would have been a relatively mono diet. In other words, when they came to an apple tree they probably sat down and ate only apples. Food would have been eaten in season. Fresh unsprayed fruit and vegetables are extremely rich in vitamins, especially Vitamin C.
Would they have had the opportunity to combine as many foods at one sitting as modern man does? Don't get me wrong, I crave variety as much as the next person, but with a simple selection of enzyme-rich food, their digestive system would have operated superbly.
Whenever possible they probably caught reptiles and small game but unlike today, this would have been eaten fresh with most of the animal consumed (very different to your guilty pleasure of Nando’s). Meat was an occasional treat rather than the bulk of the diet as it generally tends to be now.
I found this PIE-chart (excuse the pun!) whilst 'googling' online and thought it was a good illustration of the suggested quantities of different food groups.
The Primitive Diet
Eating fresh food when it is ripe is hardly even comparable to our early picking and artificial ripening techniques, which means that nutrients don't develop fully. Some nutritionists estimate that a fresh organically grown tomato provides around one gram of Vitamin C.
The fact is that these days you are lucky to get 50mg (1/20th of a gram) from an artificially ripened and stored tomato. You can see the dramatic difference in the nutritional value of this food according to the growing and harvesting technique. Fresh food eaten at the right time is also packed with natural Enzymes
Canning, pasteurizing and microwaving foods destroys all Enzymes (most Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures above 42 degrees). Although I don't fancy eating my meat on the live side of rare, (sorry vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians!) it can safely be stated that the oven is the curse of the modern day man.
Enzymes are the important catalysts for the digestion and metabolism of our food. Food without enzymes is devitalised food. Because enzymes, like many vitamins, are unstable, nearly all are lost in stored or cooked fruit and vegetables. Already we have a picture of the vast difference in the quality of nutrition between early man and our present day, and we have only just scratched the surface!
As a result of vastly improved hygiene and some useful drugs we have conquered the ravages of many of the infectious diseases like Smallpox and T.B. Thus we are living longer lives. Our problem now is that we are falling victims to nutritionally related degenerative diseases and stress. These include arthritis, heart disease, hypoglycaemia, diabetes and cancer. Such problems are epidemic and are claiming more people than ever before. Dietary discipline has proved essential if they are to be overcome.
So why not get to grips with a good diet? After all, these problems are nothing more than a gift showing us where we are going wrong (glass half full moment).
Getting back to my cave person point (I know, I know, I'm a broken record!) As we've seen, his/her diet was simple with not too much variety at each meal. This meant that the digestive juices were only dealing with a few foods at any one time resulting in much less chance of incompatible food combinations. Modern society have an enormous variety of foods available. ‘The more varieties, the better’ I hear you say, but although this is great for the taste buds, it is a strain for the digestive system.
With a few exceptions, our cave person ate his/her meal in an unhurried and relaxed way. After all, apart from basic survival, they had little else on their mind! as it still is today, food was a major priority in their life and my God were they going to enjoy it. In this relaxed state, the cardio-vascular system would direct the blood supply to the abdomen and digestion was completed efficiently.
Apart from the desires of food, there is little comparison here with us today. The nutritional value of food (for many of us) is truly low priority stuff, with our taste buds calling the shots.
The stressed state that most of us operate in means that there is always some adrenaline pumping through the system. Thus, our blood is directed away from the digestive areas and into the muscles in preparation for all of our little emergencies of life. This means poor digestion, indigestion, bloating, flatulence and potential illness. Because of the lack of processed plants, our primitive person's food was eaten whole. He got plenty of FIBRE. This meant that his bowel was stimulated and it’s movements were regular and efficient. In contrast, modern man's elimination is dreadful. Refined food provides none of the nutrients and prickly roughage which is so necessary for regular bowel action. The result is a clogged bowel and the reabsorption of toxins and waste material. No wonder bowel cancer is one of the greatest killers in Western society.
The food that we eat must provide us with sufficient PROTEIN, CARBOHYDRATE and FAT, plus VITAMINS, MINERALS and WATER. Only quality food will provide enough of these nutrients.
Although it pains me to say it...Cakes, pies, pastries, potato chips and sweets are valueless foods. They fill you up to the exclusion of good quality food you must have. These foods are not only damaging, but they are actually replacing food that we need to be healthy. Oh sure, a body will run on junk food, because it is mainly refined carbohydrates or fat or both. We can survive quite successfully on them - for a while, but they don't provide sustaining goodness and nutrients and you cannot rebuild or maintain health on "junk foods". They "clog us up" and "burn us out”.
To put it simply...generally speaking, our society needs more raw vegetables and fruits. These foods will provide lots of natural enzymes that will aid in the utilisation of the nutrients they supply.
Everybody is now aware of the need for more fibre in the diet but manufacturers remove this from our foods because they believe the final product will be tastier and more acceptable to the consumer. The price we pay for the removal of this fibre and bulk, however, is a sluggish eliminatory system. Without roughage the transit time in our colon is greatly increased. This means that the food can sit there for many hours or days longer than it should. This food putrefies and rots and much of this toxicity is reabsorbed back into our body.
I hope you weren't eating whilst you read that bit, but if you were and it was a raw fruit or veg - 5 points to you!
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