There are so many views by nutritional experts that it is a confusing subject. I have studied different theories and diets in the past 5 years with an eye to healing my body of cancer.
I have discovered that while there are many differences in nutrition theories, there are also many common elements. There are many benefits to incorporating good nutrition: better health, lower medical costs, increased mental concentration, more consistently high energy levels, less hyperactivity and improved behavior.
- Organic–grass-fed–pastured–local–non GMO (genetically modified organism): It is best to eat foods with the least possible amount of pesticides, chemicals, processing, and tampering (genetic modification). The more organic, pastured, grass-fed, and process free food is–the better. Some terms, like cage free and free-range, leave wiggle room. What you want to ask is “Did this animal eat grass and bugs?” Poultry and eggs from pastured chickens are especially important. Except in seasons when there is no green grass outside, you will see a dramatic difference in pastured chicken eggs. The yolks are very orange from pastured chickens. These eggs are packed full of nutrients. A local source for pastured chicken products is Prairie Crossings in Grayslake, IL. Pastured foods (meats, eggs, dairy products) differ chemically from grain fed meats etc. They are radically better for our bodies. Animals store toxins in their fats which is marbled throughout the body. Fats from grain fed animals store the pesticides used to treat the grain. These meats are so unhealthy, whereas the fat from grass-fed animals is actually good for you. As far as organic versus non-organic, it takes only minimal reasoning to know that organic food is better. What goes on a plant goes into the plant then into us when we eat it. Pesticides will not completely wash off produce. They are absorbed into plants just as our body absorbs a portion of the things we put on our skin. It may seem like bad economics to buy organic, grass-fed and pastured. However, consider the alternative in higher medical costs and bad health. Also, unprocessed foods are cheaper than processed. (By processed, I mean anything which changes food from it’s original garden-fresh state.) Processing removes nutrients and adds toxins. When you stay with organic and unprocessed versus non-organic and processed, you may find that the cost balances out. The best source for garden foods is to raise them yourself. Start converting your flower gardens. We have started front and back yard veggie gardens and it is great fun–no complaints from the neighbors yet. It is possible to make food gardens look quite lovely. The second best source is local farmers. Check out farmer’s markets. They may or may not be good resources. Ask specifics about how they raise their products to decide. Third in line are dependable stores. Whole Foods, Costco, Mariano’s, selective Kroger’s, and Giant Eagle stores have organic produce plus some organic and grass-fed meats and dairy products. There is some question about fish being safe because of mercury levels, but it is best to eat cold water, smaller fish wild caught from places like Alaska, or Norway. A good source is http://www.vitalchoice.com/newsletter_index2.cfm
- Include Raw. It is good to add raw produce into our diets at least to the level that it comprises at least 1/3 of our total diet. This can be fresh fruits and veggies, smoothies, or even cooked or dehydrated foods if they are cooked below 105 degrees. Raw foods have more vitamins, and live enzymes. Frozen foods lose some vitamins but they are still better than canned. If you are in a rush, give your child frozen veggies–they thaw almost immediately in warm water. You don’t even have to cook them. They make great finger food, and kids enjoy them if their palates are not spoiled by sugar and processed foods. There may need to be a re-education process of your whole family’s palates, if they have some bad food habits. The pain of withdrawal and change is well worth it in the long run. My experience is that it takes 2 weeks of misery to get over my addictions to sugar and processed food.
- Sprout. Sprouted seeds and nuts have more nutrition than non-sprouted. Soaking and sprouting also provide fresh greens especially in winter. Sprouted foods are delicious, Here is a website on how to sprout. http://www.raw-food-diet-magazine.com/how-to-sprout-seeds.html E-Z Sprouter is the product I use to sprout. I looked on Amazon for the cheapest price and copied the website: http://www.amazon.com/Sproutamo-Easy-Sprout-Sprouter/dp/B000GHUD86 This one is $14.50.
- Look for food intolerances. I eliminated dairy from my diet and feel that it would be beneficial for many people. Certainly non-organic milk is loaded with horrible things including hormones, chemicals, antibiotics and more. Of course, that carries over to cottage cheese, butter, and cheese. Ideally, if one wanted to use dairy products, the closest to mother’s milk is organic goat’s milk. In an earlier time and place, we had a herd of dairy goats. We gave our sons raw goat milk because they had obvious and severe cow milk allergies. We also had grass-fed cows for beef and organic gardens before they were dubbed with those terms. Besides dairy there are many common intolerances. Gluten is another common intolerance. There are many others. You can check out an elimination diet to help with this: http://integrativemedicine.arizona.edu/file/11270/handout_elimination_diet_patient.pdf
- Veg out. Many agree that veggies should be the staple of most people’s diet. It is easy to cut up a sweet potato or raw red peppers. Kids love these–so do adults. Or throw in some organic carrots or celery for a road trip. Everyone needs a minimum amount of protein and fat. This cannot be ignored, especially in children. However too much meat in a diet is not a good thing either. There must be balance.
- Reduce sugar. Refined sugar, white flour and processed fructose in a diet beat up the pancreas. They contribute greatly to obesity. They cause spikes and plummets in blood sugar levels. Keep in mind that if you or your family have blood sugar level problems, these other foods may need to be eaten more sparingly also. Grains, when digested, also become sugar in the body. Even whole grains, while giving good nutritional elements, can contribute to high sugar levels. Beans, except lima beans, break down into sugar. Potatoes produce spikes in blood sugar levels also. Fruits, especially sweeter ones like bananas must be eaten with moderation also, as they can cause sugar levels to increase. However, these things are much easier on the body than refined sugar, fructose and white flour. In a whole different category, soda is not only harmful in the ridiculous amounts of sugar it contains, it is also harmful in the many chemicals and carbonation. (Soda pop should be the very first thing to go in our family’s diets.) In many people, overconsumption of sugary foods cause the blood sugar levels to fluctuate between too little sugar in the blood to too much sugar in the blood. Eventually the body can develop insulin resistance, then pre-diabetes, then diabetes. In families with genetic predisposition, mindfulness is even more necessary. Blood sugar related diseases are at epidemic proportions in America now. These diseases include diabetes, yeast and many fungal infections, and secondarily many other ailments. Even in children, these conditions are increasing. A great cookbook for the whole family is Internal Bliss. It gives recipes that foster health by lowering sugar. By lowering sugar, you will eliminate the hyper periods your kids get from sugar highs. No longer will your kids have the dramatic energy drops when their blood sugar crashes down after a sugar high. You will have kids who are healthier hence fewer doctor visits and sick days. Your family’s concentration level will also drastically increase. I have read that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Determine to hang in for the long haul on conquering sugar’s hold. It will be a battle. Work on it a little at a time. First eliminate sodas and store bought juices. Pasteurized juices are high in sugar and have many of the nutrients destroyed by pasteurization. Just give your kids organic milk or filtered water. Next remove all desserts as we typically think of them and replace them with fruit. Next change processed and sugary snacks to fruits / veggies/ dried fruits and veggies/ nuts and seeds. Replace cereal breakfasts with pastured eggs and veggies. Throw in occasional banana peanut butter “pancakes” and or fresh smoothies from veggies and fruit.
- Eat in a probiotic way. Many people are overrun by candida (yeast) and harmful bacteria because of the standard American diet (SAD). Diets need to promote starving these bad bacteria and feeding the good bacteria. There is a whole science to this–a diet focused upon creating good flora balance in the gut is called Probiotic. Starving the bad bacteria is promoted with low sugar diets such as the diet in the cookbook Internal Bliss. The second component of this and similar diets is feeding the good bacteria which aid in digestion. This is done by eating pro-biotic food and supplements. Pro-biotic food is fermented allowing the good bacteria to proliferate. Sauerkraut and yogurt are familiar to us all. There are many more like Kimchi, Kombucha, Kefir, Miso, Dill Pickles and Tempeh. However, one cannot just run to the typical grocery store for these. Many at the grocery store are loaded with sugar, or are an imitation made with vinegar rather than true fermentation. You can either make your own or find a source such as Bubbie’s brand and King’s brands. These can be found at Whole Foods. Other stores such as Jewel will often special order these upon request. If you are interested in making your own a good website that I found is http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2008/06/baby-steps-eating-cultured-and-fermented-foods.html.
- Filter your water. Unfiltered water can be another source of toxins. Put a filter on your kitchen faucet. Ideal is to have one that filters out bacteria, chemicals and chlorine. A great website to keep up on tests of your city’s water is EWG.com. They also give test results on produce to buy organic and non-organic based on testing for pesticides. They tell which make up, baby products, sunscreens etc are the safest. If you want to take detoxing a step further, install a filter on your shower to take out the chlorine that would be absorbed through the skin.
- Exercise. Another great way of detoxing is exercise. I find the best way to exercise is to multitask. It makes exercise more interesting. Walk with a friend. Do the treadmill or Nordictrak while praying. Do a quick set of weights to maintain strength while listening to praise music. Don’t forget energetic dancing with the kids or grandkids to upbeat or worship music. This detoxes body and spirit in one fell swoop.
- Vitamin D Especially in the north, we are all deficient in vitamin D because we do not get enough sun. A great way to get vitamin D into ourselves and our family is cod liver oil. It is best when from Alaska or Norway. Fish from there contains less toxins as well as containing more good fats.
- Use safe cleaners etc. Using natural skin and cleaning products is another way of detoxing. Vinegar, peroxide, borax and baking soda all make great cleaning products. Vinegar is antibacterial and antifungal. Peroxide kills germs without harm to people in your house. Borax is a powerful cleanser but is much safer than detergents. Baking soda is a good scrubbing agent and neutralizes odors. Norwex cleaning cloths are a good product to clean without any chemicals. I have been using them for washing my body and I am having much fewer problems with dry skin. For dry skin, I use coconut oil or rose hips oil. I use jojoba oil as a hair conditioner. I use just a drop or two spread on my hands then on damp hair before I dry it. Petroleum based products like baby oil and many ingredients in make up, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreens, moisturizer, as well as most cleaning products contain toxic ingredients. We can save money and decrease toxins in our homes by making our own. It is very simple and fast. I buy the gallon plus bottle of white vinegar at Costco, as well as their largest peroxide and baking soda. Borax also is very cheap. I just save my old soap and shampoo bottles to make these. I bought a few new spray bottles so that I would not have chemical residue contaminating my homemade cleaning supplies for my kitchen and my body. These homemade products are not only easy and safe–they are much less expensive.
- Gadgets that help. I have gone through many kitchen gadgets and experimentations in making a healthy yet easy-to-do diet. I am so not a cook. I started juicing raw veggies and fruits after my first cancer. Freshly made juices are beneficial because they are loaded in concentrated nutrients and are easy for the body to digest. If you get a juicer I recommend the Breville Juice Fountain. I have gotten years of hard use out of mine. You can find it at Bed Bath and Beyond or online. However, I have had problems with extracted fresh juices as they are more concentrated in sugars than whole fruits and veggies (even though the sugars are natural sugars). I have finally gravitated towards making whole juices. I use an expensive gadget called Blendtec. It can be purchased online or at Costco. I use it many times a day. It will grind grains, even flaxseed which most grinders will not. Additionally, it will grind coffee beans. One can make smoothies, whole juices, soups, sauces, ice creams and sorbet in minutes. The cookbook that came with it is not super healthy or helpful, but I am gradually making a retinue of recipes which I will put in my blog (healingdiscoveries.com) gradually. Another gadget that makes my life easier is The Vidalia Onion Chopper. I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond. It is $20 and you can always use coupons. It sounds superfluous but it makes salad and veggie prep fast and easy, and it is a cheap tool.
- Eliminate the toxins. I have found that nourishing the mind is similar to feeding the body. If you put good quality in, it functions much better. This really eliminates most of TV and much reading material. One needs to be as selective in feeding and exercising the mind as the body. This includes toxic thoughts and words. One cannot help what passes through the mind, but there is always a choice on what planes you allow to land in your airport of a mind.
- Feed the brain good food. The Bible is the best food to feed the brain on planet earth. It makes wise the simple, it is living and active and transforms in a really good way. Of course, it can be abused and misinterpreted, but that does not detract from the absolute goodness and power of The Book when used in conjunction with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. I recommend an easy to read translation like the NIV or NLT. The Message is great for just reading.
- Exercise the brain. I love to do online scrabble to challenge my brain. It is like any other part of the body. It needs to be pushed to work its best.
Honor, give, forgive. The best way to detox the spirit is honoring, giving and forgiving. The Bible says that as we give, we will receive; as we judge we will be judged; and as we forgive, we will be forgiven.
You could restate all of this as an inverse golden rule. As you do to others it will be done to you.
I think if any of these 3 things were easy, then we would all live in peace and harmony in a loving world. The truth is that these things have a supernatural component. God must help us.
Firstly, true honoring is seeing someone as God sees him and treating him or her as a true child of God (as a brother or sister that we cherish). Everyone is to be honored. It is not a treatment that Is to be earned. To see people through God’s eyes, we must have the Holy Spirit within us. This means that we must have accepted the payment that Jesus made for us on the cross and have given him reign in our hearts.
Next, giving can be motivated from many directions. Only one type of giving makes a lasting difference. Again, that is the giving led by the Holy Spirit. Wrong giving can enable, stop personal growth, or interfere with God’s loving processes. When giving is guided by the Holy Spirit, it accomplishes God’s purposes.
And lastly, forgiveness is the heart of the Bible’s message. God made it clear that forgiveness is not optional. Yet, forgiveness is a losing battle unless we enlist God’s help. We think an offense is long gone only to discover dregs of bitterness in our hearts. If we recognize repeated bad fruit in our life, often the source of this is unforgiveness, resentment or bitterness lodged in our hearts. In actuality, we often cannot see the bad fruit in our own lives. It takes a bold, kind and honest loved one to point it out.
The best way to detox our spirit is prayer. Pray for God to show us the root of the bad fruit. Pray for forgiveness in the ways we have judged others (labeled them or put them in a box of our perceived limitations–failed to honor them). Pray for God to give the gift of forgiveness to us in letting go of offenses and hurts to us. Pray blessings upon the ones who hurt us. Give restitution to the ones we have hurt.
Amazingly, one of the best sources for detoxing our spirits is right at our fingertips. It is the Bible. The Bible is most useful when it is interpreted to us by the Holy Spirit. For a non-Christian reading the Bible is like reading history. For one filled by the Holy Spirit, it is like reading God’s love letters, teachings and admonitions from someone who is speaking to me personally.
The most effective way I have found to detox body, mind and spirit is to hang out with God. That means many different things–the Bible, dancing with him, talking to him, singing to him and I am sure that I will discover more as I hang around him. This is something that I am just learning to do after many years of being a Christian in a very dry and rules-oriented way. It is an adventure that I want to share with everyone.