In the unforgettable words of Jack LaLanne, “. . . exercise is the king and nutrition is the queen.” He nailed that comparison. In life, as in the game of chess, Regina is much more influential than Rex.
Nutrition can compensate for sloth much better than exercise can overcome bad food. In today’s world, how much of which foods you put in your mouth determines roughly 60% of your level of health. Even the American Medical Association estimates that two of every three deaths in this country are essentially self-inflicted, i.e. “the direct result of lifestyle choices.”
In these days of declining life spans – sure, infant mortality rates are way down but adult mortality rates are worsening – it’s hard to stay optimistic about our species. At the same time that research is revealing more about which foods really nourish us, our tastebuds are busy leading us farther astray. Since the end of the 19th century, health-nuts have been warning us that we are “digging our graves with our forks.” Why do we act this way?
Through countless generations, human beings became physically adapted to unpredictable, even intermittent, food supplies. Long before our ancestors learned to store excess food in granaries, icy caves or airtight containers, their bodies learned to store excess food as energy (body fat). Without that layer of protection, they would not have survived long winters or bad times, and we would not be here now.
In effect, our bodies are programmed to store fat as quickly as possible. Every day, as we consume more than we burn by moving, we get bigger. That’s the way we’re built.
Now that we are faced with a mind-boggling variety and availability of goodies, from complete junk to superfood concentrates, even adults act like Pinocchio’s friend Lampwick on Pleasure Island. This “problem” of abundance is aggravated by the fact that our guts, including every one of our digestive organs, are not yet adapted to modern foods or to modern cooking.
While the most dangerous cooking techniques (microwaving, frying, baking) clearly wreak havoc on our bodies, they are just the tip of a threatening iceberg. Problems such as soil depletion, soil distortion, pesticide and insecticide contamination, loss of vital factors over time and in processing, and intentional adulteration grow larger with every passing day.
What can an intelligent eater do? Consider the following observations.
1. Good digestion is the key to lasting health. Cultured and fermented foods are crucial for this.
2. Synthetic vitamin supplements can very easily upset normal, healthy metabolic processes
3. Human beings digest proteins from animal foods better than proteins from plant foods.
4. Bone strength and kidney health both suffer as protein intake drops.
5. Most people are not physically equipped to be strict vegetarians. Our ancestors were highly
carnivorous and plants do not supply all the nutrients our bodies require.
6. Food cooked right is healthier than most raw foods. [Up to the boiling point is fine.]
7. Most overheated food is worse than indigestible; it is toxic and/or carcinogenic.
8. “Organic” foods are not just less contaminated than commercial foods, they have more
nutritional value and more flavor.
9. Cholesterol in unprocessed food is less dangerous than the chemicals and rancid fats
in packaged food.
10. For the entire world population, the most widespread food intolerances (aka “allergies”) are
to cereal grains.
John Ogle has owned health food stores, taught nutrition, and health, and currently teaches anatomy and physiology at ASIS Massage Education in Prescott. He resides in Northern Arizona. For more information about ASIS Massage, go to www.asismassage.com