Friday, October 5, 2012

12 things I am certain of...

Since I started this little blogging venture, my world, in terms of health and nutrition, has been turned upside down a couple times. I started this from a more plant-based diet standpoint, rarely eating meat or dairy, until I went to the Real Food Symposium (expecting to meet fellow vegetarians and vegans), where I was introduced to the findings of Weston A. Price and his foundation whose church is the one of raw milk and grass-fed meat, with all the fats please. Needless to say, that was a bit confusing, after hearing through different sources and seeing first hand that eliminating animal fats from your diet can actually cure and prevent cancer. However, I took an open stance, and heard enough things at that symposium, to make me think twice about my mostly vegetarian, almost vegan diet. For example, someone told me that when you go vegan, you feel great the first couple years, because you are really cleaning up your diet of not only animal foods, but all sorts of junk. However, you are not giving your body certain nutrients that it needs and that can only be found in meat, or mostly in meat. Vitamin B12 is an example. I was also told that you exhaust your adrenal gland and then start developing other health issues, such as food allergies, rashes, etc... Given that my food allergies have increased and that I have been trying to figure out this rash on my tummy after I eat, this got my attention.

I also met Mark McAffee, from Organic Pastures, who preached about the benefits of raw milk and its importance in our diet. I met my old D.O at the symposium and asked her about my son, who is prone to asthmatic bronchiolitis, and she told me to feed him raw honey and raw milk. So I went home and did just that. A week later, he was at the hospital for an asthma crisis. Gulp! Raw milk went out  of his diet as quickly as it went in. However, we visited Mark's farm in May and met many people who were raving about raw milk and said they had all sorts of digestive issues and intolerances to milk that stopped once they started drinking raw milk.

So little by little, I started reintroducing certain things in our diet, but I felt very conflicted. Between my friends who are on the Paleo Diet and say that we are the only mammal that drinks another mammal's milk, and what's wrong with that picture, and Dr. Campbell who created the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet and says that grains and plants are the source of many gut issues, which is the place in our body where all disease starts, whereas raw milk and grass fed animals are really good for you... and the China Study, the movie "forks over Knives", the Food Revolution movement, all advocating for a plant-based diet, denouncing the over consumption of animals and what that does to the planet...

I have been pretty disoriented... and admittedly, neither of these diets resonated with me. If felt better on a plant-based diet but was nervous that I was depleting my body of important nutrients. And eating fat meat and dairy made me feel fat and bloated... I found myself going back to the Swiss doctor that my mom's nutritionist was trained by, Dr. Kousmine, and her much more balanced approach on health and disease.

As a friend said, I wish we could fast-forward 50 years and see what research would tell us about the way we are eating now.

Just the other day, I found out that you shouldn't eat raw kale every day because These veggies are bitter because the antioxidant and anti-cancer compounds they contain are designed by the plant to ward off predators. Crucifers produce compounds called isothiocyanates, originally designed by the plant to kill the cells of worms, bacteria, and insects that try to eat kale. Unfortunately, these compounds are not only capable of destroying human cancer cells, they also destroy healthy human cells (just as any form of chemotherapy can). They do so by poisoning the cells' mitochondria [Milner SE J. Agric. Food Chem. 2011; 59: 3454–3484]. Turns out antioxidants are double-edged swords...maybe there's a reason why kids don't tend to like these foods after all? (this came from the comments section of this article). Well, that made me feel great, after putting raw kale in my daily smoothie for the last two and a half years!

Sooo, as I continue to read, research, try to heal myself and my kids, I only have a few things that I am really certain of, and they are pretty basic and balanced, nothing too extreme. I thought I would share them with you:

1. Eat real foods (non processed)

2. Eat lots of organic fruits and vegetables

3. If you drink milk and do dairy, favor raw, full fat milk over pasteurized.

4. If you eat meat, only eat organic and grass fed beef or pasture raised chicken, turkey and pigs

5. Most vegetable oils are bad for you. Only buy first cold pressed, in a dark bottle, and store in a cool place. Do not use for heating, and stick to cold pressed flaxseed, olive, sunflower, walnut and hemp oils. Avoid products made with vegetable oils, as these are most likely either GMOs or they have been extracted or heated at high temperatures, which has turned them into trans-fats.

6. Raw cold pressed coconut oil is good for you and can be used for cooking because it can withstand high temperatures without its structure being modified

7. Soak and sprout your grains, beans and nuts. It makes them more digestible and gets them rid of lectins and phytic acids, which are components that are toxic.

8. Anything with more than 5 ingredients should not be eaten. It's over processed

9. Aspartame is a neurotoxin. Avoid it! Favor raw honey, grade B maple syrup, coconut sugar or sucanat. These are all natural sweeteners and minimally processed. Stevia leaves are also a good option. Stevia powder is questionable, seemingly highly processed, as well as agave syrup (I know, it's in a lot of my recipes. I'm learning as I go...). Note that aspartame is in your diet coke, light yogourt, and in your sugar free gum, among other things.

10. Sugar in general is bad for you and should only be used in its purest form (fruits and natural sweeteners above) and minimally. It increases inflammation and feed cancerous cells.

11. Avoid GMOs at all cost. It's full of poison. Research is now out showing a link between cancer and GMOs.

12. Pay attention to the balance between acidic and alkaline foods in your diet. Your PH, which you can measure with PH Strips dipped in your urine, should be around 7. Below that, it's too acidic, above it, it's too alkaline. (I'm hoping to one day write more about that). When your PH is too acidic, it creates inflammation (first in your liver) which then can spread through your blood stream and cause disease. Most fruits and vegetables are alkalizing (but not oranges and tomatoes, which are very acidic), especially bananas, pineapples and potatoes. Meat, fish, dairy, grains and beans are acidic and should always be eaten with plenty of vegetables.

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