“You are what you eat!”

Nature has an inherent power of self-correction, if given an opportunity.  Those who live close to nature, in spiritual and physicals terms, are those who find life most satisfying in these terms,  if we observe various birds and animals, we shall see that they remain healthy so long as they freely in nature and are not caught and kept as pets.  They eat only when they are hungry, and once their hunger is satisfied they eat no more, however attractive the food offered to them.

Similarly, many primitive people, living simply on food they have hunted or grown, have been found to be virtually free of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and even many infectious diseases such as measles, mumps and influenza.  An alteration in their standard of health takes place when they change to a Western diet.

The Principles of Natural Therapy

The First Principle

The Principle of the Unity of Cause of Disease entails that there is one and only one cause of all diseases – toxaemia – the accumulation of toxic and foreign substances on the body.

The Second Principle

Almost of all the so-called ‘common ailments’ such as fevers, colds, inflammation, digestive disorders, irregular menstruation and skin eruptions and manifestations of the natural healing processes of the body.  What we call ‘symptoms’ are  merely outwards manifestations of the natural, self-initiated attempts of the body to cast out the accumulated waste materials.  All chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes arthritis, are often directly related to the continues suppression of the symptoms alone.  An ignorant lethargy prevails when it comes to tackling the reasons why we had to suffer form such diseases in the first place.  As Dr. Weir Mitchell points out: “Medicine is only a palliative; for all the back of the diseases lies a cause and this cause no drug can reach.”

The Third Principle

An understanding of this principles provides for the difference in the philosophy of the various medical systems going around.  A natural outlook of life is based on the observation that the body itself contains and elaborate healing mechanism and has the power to heal and return s to perfect health of only we let it.  Nature, if given time, has an inherent power of self-correction. If only we realize how different the use of raw vegetables and fruit juices is from those potent, toxic drugs we consider to be only cures,  if only we realize that natural methods serve the therapeutic purpose equally well, and often they also provide vital rebuilding and regenerative foods that the body can use for reconstruction.

 

Is Conventional Medicine always effective?

One of the most startling aspects of modern medicine is the fact that pharmaceutical researchers develop their drugs by trial and error, and there exists considerable ignorance as to the mode of action of hundreds of drugs.  This is partly because the medical profession is easily satisfied to suppress the symptoms without too many short term side effects.

For example, a long, continued loss of calcium usually leads to nervousness and tiredness, and all too often tranquillizer pills (like Calmpose) are used to conceal the symptoms.  However, your dentist’s X-ray will tell you that you are deficient in calcium because he sees a gradual receding of the jaw bone form around the roots of your teeth.  Chances are that if you are past your prime, he would interpret it as a sign of ageing and load you with supplements without discovering the real cause for the deficiency.

The roots of this vote of no-confidence can be traced to a much publicized report of the American Medical Association wherein a list of 72 banned drugs was published.  These drugs had been widely prescribed for decades, and almost all of a sudden, years after their introduction, had been found to have extremely serious side effects such as irregular heartbeats, liver damage, impaired visual, auditory and sexual functioning, and corrosion of the digestive system, if used over a period of time.  The list included sulpha drugs, several popular analgesics, antibiotics, many of the drugs used in the treatment of diabetes, sedatives, antirheumatic pills, tranquillizers, painkillers, almost all kidney stimulants, thyroid extracts etc.  this list also included strychnine once used for cholera till it was found that it gave rise to numerous serious side effects after a few years.

In America  alone, every year about 200 to 300 drugs which had been prescribed as effective medicines for years are being withdrawn from the market.  Even in a developing country like India, where drug-regulation laws are extremely lax, over 60 to 100 drugs are banned every year.

Strong drugs which may suppress or relieve’ some ailments are usually toxic and invariably have harmful side effects.  And the toxicity they produce usually occurs at the time when the body is ailing and is least capable of coping with it.

In fact, allopathy does little else but suppress the body’s natural power by making, the body reliant solely on external help.  The result is that with every attack of a particular disease, the body’s natural immunity grows weaker and administration of increasing doses of drugs lulls the natural resistance.  This makes the body more susceptible to diseases once the patients stops taking the drugs.

Antacids give temporary relief but the their effect wears off, and with the continuation of the kind of diet which caused it in the first place, the acidity is exacerbated, every 3 to 4 months people complain of aches, diarrheas, fevers and colds. And in the case of relapse of these minor and major ailments, larger doses of other even more powerful drugs have to be prescribed, thus further debilitating the system.  Administration of such drugs to suppress the symptoms serves to do nothing but make the disease chronic.  As Dr. Alan Goldbloom puts it: “I have had greater success in the treatment of diseases by snatching drugs away from patient rather than by administering drugs to them.”

Different forms of hepatitis have been found to be due to excessive dosage of drugs like aspirin, paracetamol, tetracycline, sulponamides, tannic, acid and several drugs used for tuberculosis or psychiatric conditions.  Jaundice and inhibited secretion of bile ma be caused by oestrogen (contained in the contraceptive pill) and anabolic steroids within a few weeks of commencing intake of these drugs.

Dr. Mazedine, of the French Academy of Body Science, once conducted an experiment to confirm this attitude.  He divided a group of patients into three parts.  Standard drugs were given to one part; one set of patients got home remedies; the final third were given nothing.  Predictable, the third group did better than the second group which did better than the first.

Perhaps this attitude of swallowing medicines by the handful is best captured by Dr. William Osler’s terse observations: “The desire to take medicines is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguished man from other animals.”

For example, the traditional Indian medicinal are of Ayurveda, despite having many naturalistic healing recipes pays little heed to the importance of a balanced, low toxin diet.  Little new research has been incorporated into this system, and most practitioners still emphasis on the liberal consumption of ghee oil, refined sugar, spices, cooked foods and a high-protein diet.

 

Aspirin: Making it work for you

Regular aspirin abuse can damage the kidneys and can trigger sudden renal failure.  As little as 10 gm. At a time (about 30 regular-use tables) are enough to cause a fatal overdose.

The effects of aspirin are also affected by Vitamin C- which slows elimination of the drug from the body, and alcohol, which makes it even more irritation to the stomach (which is why, please don’t use it to get rid of a hangover!) Aspirin also interferes with medication for gout, diabetes and kidney disease.

 

Understanding the Importance of Diet

To understand the working of the body, its metabolism  how it gets its energy and maintains itself – it is important to know about the three natural body cycles:

(1)      appropriation or the taking in of food.

(2)     Assimilation or the absorption and se of some of that food.

(3)     elimination of the material not required by the body.

If we ingest an excess of foodstuffs, of a nature which our body cannot assimilate fully, then it is not necessary that the body shall automatically eliminate the matter within a few hours.  This waster which cannot be eliminated accumulates in the body and beyond a certain limit it turns into putrefying, poisonous toxins.  Like a clogged sewer, the alimentary canal, the blood stream, and the intricate renal and hepatic systems are about as suspect to clogging.  The body then reacts with ‘symptoms’ like fever, cold or cough to rid itself of these toxins.

In the naturopathic view, fever, for example, is a direct result of the body’s attempts to burn off these toxins.  Loss of appetite is a natural result in such a state.  It may be constructed as nature’s way of preventing the digestive system from being further burdened.

At this stage our vital energy has a threefold task: (1) to expel accumulated waste, (2) to digest the new food we dump in, often of a similar nature to the food which caused our debilitated condition in the first place, and (3) to expel the new waste matter.

The natural way is all about the elimination of the extra waste matter which lies at the root of the disease. Methods include steam baths to induce perspiration enemas to eliminate accumulated wastes in the alimentary canal, and other natural methods to stimulate the working of the internal organs. But diet is of primary and paramount importance. If we are smart enough to regulate our diet and succeed in getting rid of the accumulated toxins, equilibrium of the system is restored. If, however, we neglect the minor ailments and persist in overloading the body with morbid matter, then the garbage inside our cells will go on accumulating, becoming more and more toxic, and will ultimately take on the form of a major disease.

 

HOW DIGESTION WORKS

  1. In the mouth, food mixes with the saliva, whose enzymes break down starch. The food is then ground into smaller pieces by the teeth before moving down the oesophagus to the stomach.
  2. Physical breakdown continues in the stomach. In addition, the food is mixed with acidic gastric juices that are secreted by glands in the stomach lining. This begins the breakdown of proteins and reduces the food to a thick liquid which is then gradually passed into the stomach.
  3. As soon as the food enters the duodenum it is bathed in bile and enzymes. Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. It aids the digestion of fats. Enzymes secreted by the pancreas are essential for the breakdown of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The duodenum leads directly into the rest of the small intestine.
  4. 4. The final stage of digestion takes place in the small intestine. Additional enzymes combine with the bile and pancreatic juices to reduce the food to molecules. These are small enough to pass through the wall of the small intestine. Here, nutrients are carried by the blood stream to the liver for storage and distribution. Undigested food residues pass into the large intestine.

Think for a minute: If our natural resistance power is strong enough, no disease would dare to attack us. Why do some people who, after, contracting the HIV virus, still continue to live for as much as 15 to 20 years, whereas others perish to AIDS related to diseases like pneumonia in a matter, of months? If  you give two people the same infected food, why is it often seen that one develpps gastro-intestinal complications whereas the other carries on without any real discomfort?

Toxaemia-what modern science calls metabolic imbalance-was first written about by Dr. John Tilden. According to him, the human body is finely designed to maintain the balance of tissue building up (anabolism) and breaking down (catabolism). An excess of one over the other is metabolic imbalance:

Catabolism comes about in two ways. One is the normal, natural function of the body whereby old and dead cellsare replaced by new ones. The other, is the unnatural death of our cells, and is caused by our faulty dietary intake.  Both demand extra vital energy for removal from the body.  It is estimated that every day about a hundred million old cells are cast off by the body, and have to be replaced and carried out off the system, through the bubbles, bladders, lungs and skin.

Often the by – products of food are not properly assimilated and incorporated into the cell or tissue structure.  This results impairment of their function, till gradually they stop contributing to the tissues they constitute.  These cells clog up and perish slowly, but in the meantime they draw upon the vital energies of the body without contributing, any thing to increase its efficiency.

This harmful effect is more pronounced now-a-days, now that a major portion of what we eat is processed food. Few of us ingest a sufficient quantity of fresh foods. We try, deep-fry, grill, boil, steam, stew or broil almost all the food we eat. Our digestive system was never really designed for such an intake. If we eat such foods on a regular basis, and indeed so many of us do, then the system gets overtaxed on a regular basis.

 

The necessity of proper food combination

Simply put, everything that is in imbalance is toxic. When we eat chemically-treated, processed food, or an excess of cooked foods, or foods which do not combine well, we are in effect putting strain on our metabolic system which is not biologically equipped to convert artificial food into energy efficiently. Toxins are the residue and by-products of such incomplete digestion. In minute quantities they are tolerated by the body, but if the incorrect diet continues, their build up can lead to a complete breakdown of the system.

The body generates toxins in two different ways. In the normal course of metabolism, there are waste materials left over from the process of digestion. These are usually eliminated by the body if it is working well.

But there are also occasions when the body does not digest the food properly and uses up precious minerals, vitamins and enzymes in attempting to do so. Both these mechanisms of toxin production can lead to a build up of harmful acidic residue, which in turn upsets the delicate acid-alkaline balance of the body. As a result, the body’s efficacy in digesting foods is even further affected. A dangerous tailspin ensues, the first sign of what is commonly known as acidity.

Also, when there is a build up of acidic toxins, the body retains more water so as to neutralize its effect and thereby gets an ugly, bloated look. Add to this acidic imbalance, the excessive intake of acid-forming foods, such as proteins, fats and starches, and soon not only is your body bloated and rendered considerably inefficient, it is also depleted of reserves of alkaline minerals which must be used up to neutralize the unnatural acidic state of the body. Moreover, the blood’s capacity to transport carbon dioxide out of the system is also seriously compromised.

One has to understand here that normally the body chemistry is approximately 20 percent acidic and 80 percent alkaline, and it is only within such as environment that most of our tissues are able to function and the enzymes able to perform their manifold catalytic actions. Just as the body is functional only within a certain range of temperatures, so is our internal functioning possible only with this 1:5 acid- alkaline balance.

Generally the acids such as uric acid and lactic acid which are produced in our bodies during the metabolic process react with the alkalis in the blood, lymph, bile etc., and are thereby neutralized. However, if our diet is replee with acid forming foods, then the body cannot cope with all the resulting acids an dtheir accumulation causes various conditions like fatigue, headache, anorexia, insomnia, nervous tension and hyperacidity.

This condition is what is known as acidosis, and it is often suppressed by millions of people around the world with antacids, almost on a daily basis. Its symptoms are hunger, indigestion, burning sensation and pain in the upper chest, nausea, vomiting, headache and drowsiness.

Of course, usually we treat each of its symptoms in exclusion, and try to suppress them with drugs, little realizing what we are really doing. Acidic blood is without any doubt an abnormal condition, and in the long run has been observed to seriously hinder development in children and adolescents, cause degeneration in older people, diminish general vitality, and cause difficulties in pregnancy and lactation. It has also been found to be a contributing, factor in the origin of diseases such as measles, appendicitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancer. Also, many prostrate infections are attributed to the acidic nature of the system, since there are certain bacteria which thrive only in such an environment.

The human body is not designed to digest more than one concentrated food in the stomach at the same time. A concentrated food in any food that is not a fruit hasn’t been reduced by cooking, refining, processing or long-term storage. This intake of food high in water content is not to be confused with drinking water, which has its own place in the health plan.

There are two major reasons for the intake of high water foods. The first is nourishments, the vitamins, the minerals, and the trace elements contained in fruits and vegetables are already dissolved in the water. This is quite unlike vitamin and mineral substitutes which have to be taken in great quantities, and yet only part of which actually dissolves in to the system. Also, vitamin substitutes can seldom provide you with the enormous range which, say, something  like one apple can provide indispensable aid in the detoxifying process,. They cleanse the system, and carry the wastes out with amazing efficiency. Drinking water alone does not leach the organic mineral compounds; moreover, it is very debilitating to drink water with a meal for it dilutes the juices and hinders the proper assimilation of nutrients in the intestines.

Another point which needs to be stressed here is that taking high-water-content foods, i.e, fruits and vegetables, implies taking them in the raw state. Cooking makes the moisture evaporate, leaving us with a solid mass of nutrients, most of which pass from the body unassimilated. Of course, you don’t need to have an exclusive diet of fruit and vegetables to stay slim and energetic. But given that our bodies are 70 percent water, don’t you think that we should follow a diet 70 per cent of which is predominated by fruits and vegetables?

Suppose we were to eat potatoes with a flesh food, say both in equal quantities. This concentrated starch would then enter the stomach with the proteinous flesh food. The digestive juices necessary to break down potatoes are not acidic, but alkaline. So when you take in potatoes with meat, which requires hydrochloric acid for digestion, the consequence is that both the different categories of digestive juices necessary to breakdown these food types are secreted together and simply neutralize each other.

“What is going to happen to the food? The body, which is infinitely wise, immediately recognizes an emergency, because the number one priority for the body is the digestion of food. The body is literally thrown into turmoil. It is under pressure to secrete more digestive juices. This takes time and energy. New digestive juices are secreted into the stomach, and what happens? They are neutralized again. Now the body is really pushed to its limit. More energy is needed to secrete even more juices in the stomach. A long time is elapsing during this process. Several hours go by as the body is manufacturing all this digestive juice. Digestive juices are secreted once again into the stomach and we begin to experience indigestion or heartburn (feeling of heaviness). Finally, the food which has never been properly digested is simply moved out of the stomach by the peristaltic action of the intestines. This undigested food is forced into the intestines after several hours of being held up in the stomach.”

Similar diets, where you mix large amounts of proteins and carbohydrates, leads to similar results. Take breads or the Indian staple chapathi for instance. These are both composed primarily of carbohydrates and as such need to be digested by the enzymes in the saliva before the enzymes in the stomach can break them down completely.

Needless to say, if we masticate the food well, the carbohydrate content in it will be converted to sugar and we will feel a sweet, sticky sensation in the moth. Few, people, however, spare the time and effort to chew properly. So when you eat them without chewing, with proteinous flesh foods, lentils or soy beans, you are asking for trouble. Especially so in the case of animal proteins which, as I have mentioned earlier, can under normal circumstances, take up to 24 hours to digest. But when you have them in a wrong combination this period often gets doubled

Just imagine! Almost all of the protein you have taken in, being, in the stomach for so many hours, has putrefied and turned completely rotten and toxic. Most of the carbohydrates have also fermented, since no digestion has really taken place, despite volumes of juices having been generated and precious vital energy used up for the attempts at digestion. Because of this putrefaction and fermentation, gas pains flatulence, more heartburn and acid indigestion occur so very frequently.

And then we start popping antacids and blame it on our weak constitution! But these aids don’t really help at all in the long run. As long as their effects last, you will get some relief from the discomfort. But what about all this putrefaction, fermentation and the resulting acid? What about this mass of spoiled, rotting, foul-smelling food inside the stomach at that time? What about all this stinking filth you have forced through the intestines?

Do you know that three out of four people will someday suffer from cancer or heart disease? And of the cancers, a sizeable proportion are of the stomach or the colon. Why? Because we are such indiots that we wash, scrub and clean the outsides of our body, sometimes thrice, a day, but often go on for decades, and sometimes our entire lives, doing precious little to wash out the far more putrid and obnoxious toxic wastes from inside our bodies.

We don’t realize that our intestines absorb not only the beneficial nutrients digested in the stomach, but also all the decaying rot. This goes straight into our blood stream as it passes through some 30 feet of highly absorbent intestinal tract. The result? Minor problems like acne, falling hair, lethargy, insomnia skin eruptions all warning signs for us to improve our habits. But few of us do, and the more dangerous diseases inevitably follow.

 

Basic Rules of Food-Combining

  1. Saliva contains enzymes primarily for the digestion of carbohydrates such as sugar, bread, wheat, chapattis, rice and other cereal grains. These enzymes can act only in an alkaline medium. One should therefore avoid taking carbohydrates and sour, acid-forming foods together.
  1. Large amounts of proteins and large amounts of carbohydrates should not be taken together.
  1. Similarly, large amounts of proteins and large amounts of fats not be taken together.
  1. Proteins should not be eaten with sour fruits. For instance, lemon juices or tomatoes are added in preparations of pulses and lentils. The citric acid in these fruits causes a diminution in digestive juices, rendering digestion difficult.
  1. As far as possible, have concentrated foods with foods having a high-water-content. If you want potatoes, don’t have them with mutton or chicken. Have it with vegetables and salads.

 

Salad Days

Thanks for the eminently successful Fit for Life series, salads probably come closest to what the layman associates with natural living. One of the primary benefits of salads is that provide us with a well-balanced and satisfying meal, with plenty of roughage and nutrients.

This is why you should make sure to replace at least one meal of the day with an exclusive salad intake. Take up what is called the main-course salad approach to eating. Considerable quantity of carefully constituted salad recipes can completely replace a meal. Straightaway you have a high-fibre diet, and you ensure that a large proportion of what you are eating is fresh, live vegetables. This is of great advantage. Remember, it is not the food in your life – but the life in your food that counts!

With salads, there is absolutely no putrefaction in the system. Any food in excess of the body’s requirement simply passes out. There is no strain at all on the digestive system, and the stomach too has a feeling of fullness about it. Salads are economical and tend to keep well overnight. And as for the question of taste, this system’s beauty is that the possibilities are endless.

Popular salad recipes include the use of sprouts, rice, olive oil, lettuce, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, watercress, sliced green olives, basil, Potatoes, onions and garlic, mushrooms, carrots, radishes and turnips. Often these ingredients are taken along with the main course, but a meal can be made of them easily. Other salads such as fruit salads may also be taken, especially by those wanting to tone up their system or those wanting to lose weight.

Salad ingredients should first be washed thoroughly. They should be prepared preferably just before serving so as to avoid oxidization of vitamin c. different ingredients may be combined to give variety. A basic coleslaw salad would consist of shredded cabbage, grated carrot, and chopped onion with a simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil. Chopped celery, cucumber, beet root, tomatoes, water cress, radishes, spring onions, raisins, bean sprouts, sunflower seeds, and few other culinary herbs like endive, fennel, sage, chives, chervil, basil, mint, rosemary may be added as well. Coleslaw salad may be served as a side-salad with a protein-rich dish, and if you are still persisting with flesh foods, this will help undo some of the damage.

A simple salad dressing could consist of olive oil and lemon juice in equal parts, one crushed clove of garlic and mixed herbs. You can make it once a fortnight and keep it in a tightly corked bottle in the refrigerator. Avoid commercially available salad dressings. These are full of sugar, vinegar ad chemicals. Also avoid using vinegar in salad dressings since it ferments and suspends salivary digestions thus retarding the digestion of starches. Substitute it instead with lemon juice. Avoid the excessive consumption of raw onions and garlic. These pervert the taste buds and cause you to crave heavy foods.

 

 The Miracles of fasting

Fating, one of the oldest natural therapies, is nothing but an extension of the Golden Rule of Diabetics. “To keep healthy, one must always keep a little hungry.” Unfortunately, today we live in the culture of excess, and under the influence of various spices, condiments, and commercials for fast junk food, we gorge ourselves till we can eat no more. Many still think that they will lose their vitality if they as much as miss a single meal; and when they fall sick, they ignore the body’s natural loss of appetite and force themselves to eat, thereby putting even more strain on their already weakend system.

The mechanism of the therapeutic effect of fasting is easy to understand. The food we eat provides our body with the necessary energy and enables it to produce new cells. Both these processes give rise to numerous toxins which inhibit the efficacy of the cells of the body. Usually, whatever we consume, it is first assimilated and this digested mass reaches the liver, which, like the lungs and kidneys, extracts all the toxic or waste elements.

When no new food goes into the body, as during fasting, no new toxins are produced and the liver works full time to eliminate existing toxins.  This occurs because the body, which requires fuel to survive, now begins to first burn the toxins contained within it, and only then turns to the stored nutrients.  At the end of the first extended period of fasting, with fewer toxins to hinder cell functioning, the natural resistance power of the body increases manifold.  The blood becomes purer and the skin begins to clear up and acquire a new glow.

In other words, when the patient stops taking food, the disease and not the patient dies of starvation.  This aspect of fasting is well known to alternative healers who prescribe fasting as a cure for various chronic diseases, including cases of anaemia, fever, irregular menstruation, headache, rheumatism, diarrhea, gout and depression.  For long, mocked at by allopaths, the naturopathic view has been confirmed by a recent study at the University of Pittsburgh which found an increase in the activity of infection-fighting white blood cells in a group of fasting abese volunteers.  Another study, published over a decade ago, had also noted that famine victims in Africa were less likely to develop malaria and TB than their better-fed counterparts in refugee camps.

The pay offs of fasting are greatest in cases where the diseases are deep-rooted, but even if you aren’t suffering from any ailment, a fast of 3-4 days each month serves wonderfully for toning up the system and for increasing the body’s natural resistance to disease.  Regular weekly fasting, or half-day fasting (skipping an occasional meal), or juice fasting or fruit fasting – all result in a tremendous improvement in the digestive process and the utilization of nutrients. Fasting therapy has also been shown to increase stamina, accelerate weight loss and reverse ageing considerably.  However, do keep in mind that fasting is not a solution for obesity.  It is a good way to start your programme, for almost everyone makes some changes after a fast, whether it is getting off junk food and caffeine, or improving one’s self-discipline; but ultimately only a low-calorie balanced diet coupled with adequate exercise will help.

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