How many times have you heard, “You are what you eat?” This is mostly true.
Try to take your time reading this because it is important; it may seem like a rollercoaster ride. Trust me, some of it may shock you, but we all need to know this. By the time you finish reading this, and absorbing the material, you will be better equipped to make better decisions on what you eat and thereby have a much healthier and longer life.
How many are aware that vegans triple their risks for Parkinson’s disease? We know why and will explain later. 25% of Americans suffer from at least 1 autoimmune disease! This is the highest in the world, and this rate keeps going up; we think we know the reason and will explain. Medicine has learned a lot about nutrition, so we really should be making changes as enumerated here.
The digestive tract extends from the mouth to the anus. It is a long hollow tube. Contents inside are not part of you, but are traveling through you. Digestion is the process of breaking down food into basic components (fat, protein and carbohydrates or sugars) that selectively get absorbed into you. Unused material passes out. Small intestine is 10-16 feet long; large intestine is 5 feet long. The inside lining is only 1 cell thin!
From the mouth to the anus there is a thin layer of mucus for protection. Normally, the only way the nutrients can get inside to the blood stream is by entering the intestinal cell and traveling through to the other side. It is under remarkable control. Nutrients cannot normally pass between the cells, due to the “glue” (Gap junction).
Normally, if we are healthy, each one of us has about 100 trillion microbes in our gut. There are good ones and bad ones. The good ones aid in our digestion and help with absorption of vitamins, minerals and produce various messengers that travel throughout the body to coordinate metabolic activities. All the microbes together are known as the microbiome. Each time we eat food, about half of the microbes are killed by digestive chemicals. Eating correctly gives us the balance between good and bad bacteria. 70% of our immune system’s white blood cells (WBCs), needed to identify and eliminate bad microbes, are in and near the intestines to keep an eye on what gets in. They are ready to “pounce” and take actions to rid your body of an infection.
At the end of the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago, the human diet changed to an agricultural one based on grains, beans (legumes), domesticated animals and milk. Years later there was a change in the protein of some cow milks. Additionally, Columbus introduced new foods from the New World (tomato, eggplant, peanuts, cashews, pumpkin, squash, zucchini, quinoa, chia, etc.). Most recently, was the innovation of processed foods, preservatives and GMO foods. Plus, we have introduced broad spectrum antibiotics, other drugs and a vast array of chemicals that have totally changed our gut bacteria. I know, we are talking about changes over 10,000 years, and that may sound like a long time, but in terms of evolution it is a blink. It is certainly not enough time for our friendly gut microbes to adjust. That is a problem.
Plants have been on this planet for about 450 million years and have had enough time to develop some very sophisticated ways to protect themselves from hungry predators. Short term strategies= thorns, poisons, toxins to paralyze predators. Long term= producing chemicals that taste bad (so you will not attempt to eat again) sicken and may eventually debilitate the predator (with lectins). This last entity is fascinating and was first discovered in 1884.
We will be discussing: (1) Lectins (2) Dairy (3) Meats (4) Do and Do Not Food Lists.
We will also discuss the impact the above changes have on us and our health. More importantly, there are solutions as enumerated in the following sections.