Healing Food Diet
by Daphne Lambert
Naturally grown foods, fresh in season, or harvested & preserved at their peak of ripeness & nutrition, using artisan traditions are the best foods to heal both body and planet. Industrially processed foods inevitably diminish both the quantity and quality of nutrients making them less able to nourish us.
Nutritional researchers like Dr. Weston A Price and Dr McCarrison studied the diets of indigenous cultures and found that when their diets were comprised of natural, unprocessed, locally grown foods, the people had no teeth decay or signs of disease. When the same cultures began to use denatured, processed foods such as white flour and sugar, canned foods and insufficient amounts of fresh, raw foods they found that the people began to suffer from dental decay and degenerative diseases. Interestingly regardless of the composition of the diet, whether it was exclusively vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, predominantly meat or largely dairy based if the foods were natural, unprocessed, with a good proportion eaten raw the people maintained good health. Raw whole milk, whole wheat grain, grilled fish, and nuts in their shells are whole foods. Pasteurised skimmed milk, white flour, fish fingers and ground nuts are not. Eating as much food as is possible with little alteration is a healing diet that helps a body out of balance return to vital, energised health.
Two processed foods that wreak havoc in the body are refined sugar and altered fats. Processed and refined foods, including soft drinks, sweets, cakes, many desserts, as well as other snacks & tinned foods generally contain high amounts of simple sugars which will cause insulin levels to spike. The more of these sugars we eat the more excessive the amounts of insulin produced.
Insulin is a natural substance made by the body. Insulin can tell cells to grow. For healthy cells, this is good because the cells in your body grow, divide, die, and are replaced as part of the natural process of living. However, cancer cells can be encouraged to grow as well when our bodies produce too much insulin.
Natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables are much safer and better for health in addition they are full of vitamins and minerals, something which refined sugar is totally devoid of. If you eat fruit try to you eat seasonal, locally grown (well at least UK) fruits with the exception of lemon, lime and grapefruit. Too much fructose, the sugar in fruit, is not good for the liver.
Refined sugar and other simple sugars interfere with your immune system. Sugar also depletes the body of key minerals and other nutrients because of its acidity which causes the body to use alkaline minerals to regulate the pH level in the body. The same is true of all acidic foods. The chain reaction caused in the body by acidic foods (due to the body's attempts to keep the blood at a level pH) is the cause, or a major contributing factor, to almost all chronic diseases.
Altered fats are especially detrimental to health. Heated oil is a major cause of free radical damage in the body. Free radicals are oxygen molecules that have lost an electron becoming unstable and reactive. These radical oxygen molecules steal electrons from healthy molecules thus causing damage and creating more free radicals in the process. Light, air and heat turn poly-unsaturated fats (corn, safflower, sunflower, walnut, flax and hemp) into trans fatty acids and free radicals which are linked to cancer. Keep poly-unsaturated fats in small dark bottles in the fridge, do not cook with them, use as salad dressings or add a spoonful to a smoothie.
If you decide to include meat & fish in your diet there are two key considerations, the quality and the quantity.
If the addition of a little meat in your diet makes you feel better choose organic or bio-dynamic which ensures animal welfare is of the highest standard which includes only feeding a diet that is natural to the species and eat small portions. The best fish to eat are wild caught small oily fish like sardines and herrings. Wild Alaskan salmon is another possible alternative. Farmed salmon due to overcrowding and diet have weakened immune systems and are prone to parasites, bacteria and viruses. Organic farmed salmon is slightly better though all farmed fish have more saturated fat than wild counterparts due to their more sedentary existence. Organic eggs contain high quality proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, easy to digest they provide a wonderful boost to the immune system. Our modern day ways of producing milk, pasteurised, semi-skimmed and homogenised has a negative effect on our health, there is a benefit for some people in small amounts of organic, raw unpasteurised milk, kefir and cheese. The most important foods to include in any diet are plant based, choose to eat a colourful rainbow of vegetables and fruits and you will optimises the range of phytonutrients
Phytonutrients are plant chemicals which have been produced by plants as part of their means of survival. The constant biological challenge of being exposed to direct sunlight and ultra violet rays all day forced plants to form powerful free radical scavenging anti-oxidant polyphenols in order to protect themselves. When we eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables we harness the powers of these phytonutrients into our diet. The level of phytonutrients within any plant varies depending on the species of plant, soil conditions and many other environmental factors. Research shows that organic plants have more phytonutrients than non organic. Phytonutrients are powerful protectors and fighters against cancer they contain anti-oxidants to quench free-radicals; anti proliferative nutrients to slow tumour growth and foods that stimulate the immune system.
Eating a diet of natural foods is relatively simple but there is the more complex question should we eat them raw or cooked? Views can be pretty polarised but in reality not all cooked food is detrimental to health and not all people are able to digest a raw diet.
Technically, cooking is the heating of foods to a high temperature originally by exposing to fire.. In essence, cooking outsources some of the body’s work of digestion so that more energy is extracted from food and less expended in processing it. When plant foods are cooked, the heat causes the starch inside the cell to swell, this ruptures the tough cellulose wall of the plant cell liberating the content. In the case of meats the heat converts to gelatin the connective tissue which makes raw meat difficult to chew. Cooked foods may provide more energy but at the expense in many case of valuable nutrients.
There are different ways to apply heat, deep fat frying, barbecue, boiling, steaming, stir frying or sautéing, grilling, baking & roasting. . Do not deep fat fry food as this creates dangerous altered fats, barbecuing is not good as the smoke and flames burn the food and increase levels of highly carcinogenic nitrosamines. A gentle boil to make a soup whereby you use all the cooking liquid is acceptable as is steaming. Slow baking or roasting at a low temperature with no added fat is fine. If you stir fry try stir frying in water then dish up before adding a spoonful of hemp oil. Hemp oil has the right ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids.
Inevitably with all these methods some nutrients will be destroyed .This includes the B vitamins especially thiamine, folic acid and biotin. Vitamin C losses through cooking are up to 80% . Cooking does not destroy minerals, but they will leach into any cooking liquid so make sure this is always used. Cooking does however disrupt mineral absorption due to coagulating bioactive mineral and protein complexes.
Even if you decide to eat more cooked food than raw anyone looking at healing through diet should include at least one green juice and smoothie every day. Packed full of goodness fresh green juices are quick, easy and satisfying and an incredibly dense source of important nutrients which are easy to absorb and do not tax impaired body systems.
In addition fresh, raw plant foods and especially green leaves are vibrant with high electron energy which provides oxygen to our cells. When there is insufficient oxygen to support a healthy cell, the cell turns to another source of energy, usually sugar fermentation. This upsets the metabolism of the cell and causes it to manufacture improper chemicals. Soon there is a whole group of unhealthy and weak cells which have lost their natural immune system. These are open to invasion by viruses which can result in a myriad of health problems
Dr. Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine, proved that the growth of cancer is inhibited in a high oxygen environment. His Nobel laureate lecture showed that when oxidation fails and fermentation is substituted for a cell’s energy, the pathway to cancer is opened.
Some of the best healing foods
Dark green leaves wild and cultivated
Two of the best are kale and nettles. Kale has the highest amount of good-for-you nutrients among green leafy vegetables per calorie of energy. In addition to the wide array of vitamins and minerals researchers have found 45 anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti cancer nutrients in kale
Nettles are highly alkalising, & mineralising they are useful to help purify the blood. In addition to being a potent antioxidant, nettles have immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.
Watercress, parsley, dandelion, barley and wheat grass, spinach, rocket, Chinese leaves & chard are also beneficial
Use a wide variety of seasonal vegetables asparagus, celery, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, fennel, green and red cabbage, peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, parsley, kohl rabi, lettuce, leeks, turnips, carrots & beetroot are all good choices
Sea vegetables are a good source of minerals and vitamins. Brown seaweed has anti oestrogen effects, and may help stop the growth of breast cancer. Fucoidan found in kombu, and wakame seaweed help provoke cancer cell death, and also aid in stimulating the immune system. Alginate found in sea vegetables is a natural absorbent of radioactive elements, heavy metals and free radicals. Try to use nori, kombu, wakame, arame, and dulse every week.
Lacto fermented vegetables have tremendous health benefits – nutrients are more bioavailable, foods easier to digest and are full of beneficial bacteria. Fermented vegetables are best eaten raw to take advantage of the probiotic bacteria, but occasionally, you can enliven cooked dishes with their vibrant flavours. Add them at the end to minimise the heat destroying the bacteria.
Garlic Garlic promotes circulation, eliminates unfavourable bacteria and yeasts, promotes the growth of healthy intestinal flora and eliminate toxins from the body. Use garlic frequently. Add to juices, soups & salad dressings. Try slow roasting the whole bulb, squeeze out the sweet garlic and toss with steamed vegetables.
Shiitake have an array of compounds that benefit health and they have long been used medicinally in Japan and China. Shiitake contain lentinan a kind of polysaccharide known as Beta-D- Glucan that has been shown to stimulate the immune system and fight cancer. Most studies have been done on purified extracted lentinan rather than the mushroom itself. Vitamin D deficiency is a major problem in the UK. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with a whole spectrum of diseases. Research has shown that shiitake mushrooms not only contain vitamin D2 but also vitamin D4 and as well, maybe not a lot, but definitely some of the all important D3. Research has shown that outdoor grown shiitake have 7 times more vitamin D than indoor grown, this is because mushrooms react to sunlight (just like humans!) to produce vitamin D.
Sprouting seeds increases the nutrition content and the bio-availability of nutrients. Good ones include quinoa, lentils, mung, buckwheat, alfalfa and broccoli.
A nourishing sprouted broccoli salad
3 day old broccoli sprouts have up to 50 times more of the anti-cancer fighting chemicals found in broccoli heads. Walnuts are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. All nuts are best eaten raw as cooking is liable to damage the fatty acids.
2 handfuls of broccoli sprouts
1 bunch watercress roughly chopped
1 beetroot peeled & grated
1 avocado, stoned, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 tablespoon soaked and chopped dulse
2 tablespoons walnut oil or hemp oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Mix the broccoli sprouts, water cress & beetroot together divide between 2 bowls pile the avocado walnuts and dulse on top Mix the oil and vinegar together and spoon over the salad
Charity no 1141277
Former patron : Polly Higgins
Founding member : Daphne Lambert
Trustees : Bill van Marle, Laura Ellison, Sue Fleming, Candida Blaker
1 The Byres