The Challenge of Good NutritionBy Dr. Margaret Paul
January 01, 2008
Book after book regarding health and healthy eating only seems to be adding to the confusion. Learn what you can do to determine what kind of nutrition is best for you.
"Eat more protein!"
"Be a vegetarian!"
"Vegetarians are not healthy."
"Don't eat grains!"
"Eat more grains!"
Are you confused about how to eat for excellent health? Even the research is contradictory!
Since my early 20s, I have been interested in health and nutrition. I was a sickly child and I hated being sick, so when I was 22 years old and still didn't have the energy I wanted, I started to study everything available about nutrition. At that time, I threw out all my packaged foods and began buying fresh organic produce at the one little health food store in my neighborhood. It seemed simple then - just eat food as close to nature as possible and everything will be okay. My health improved dramatically and I believed that I was on the right track.
However, since then study after study has come out regarding what creates excellent health. One good example is the "China Project," which was published in 1990. This study looked at different villages in China - those that ate meat and those that were vegetarian. The study concluded that eating vegetarian was far healthier than eating meat.
On the surface, this looks like a good study. However, when you look deeper into it, you discover that there are numerous flaws in the study. For example, other studies indicate that healthy eating varies depending upon your heritage. If you come from an Asian background where meat eating was uncommon, then bringing a lot of meat into the diet can have negative effects on health. On the other hand, if your ancestors were meat-eaters, then you might find yourself feeling shaky and tired on a vegetarian diet. Therefore, a study that was done on Asians might not apply to people who are not Asian.
I read an excellent book on nutrition that stated that you get all the protein you need from vegetable sources, and that if you eat primarily fruits and vegetables, you will find yourself feeling very healthy and energized. I tried the nutrition plan for three weeks and felt awful! Reading further in other books, I discovered that some people do far better on animal protein, while others do better on vegetable protein. It seems that trying to find one nutrition plan to fit all doesn't work.
What to do?
If you want to be healthy, then you need to learn to tune into your body to discover what makes you feel healthy and energized in the long run and what makes you feel tired and depleted in the long run. You have to go by the long run, because in the short run sugar and coffee can energize you, but in the long run they deplete you. Practicing Inner Bonding helps you stay tuned into your body.
There are certain guidelines that I have found to be very helpful for promoting excellent health:
1. Limit or eliminate sugar and other refined, processed products. It is important to eat foods that are nutrient-dense. Most processed foods have no nutritional value.
2. Notice whether you feel better with more animal protein or more vegetable protein.
3. Eat as close to natural as possible - organic fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, grass-finished organic meats, free-range organic poultry and eggs, and mercury-free fish.
4. If you find that eating vegetarian makes you feel much better, then read about healthy vegetarian diets.
5. If you find that you need animal protein to feel energized, then look for the highest quality you can find. Studies have shown that eating grain-finished beef and lamb is not good for anyone. The fat of grain-finished cows drastically changes in ways that can cause illness. The fat of organic grass-finished beef and lamb contain high quantities of Omega 3, which is not true of grain-finished meat. In addition, cows that eat grass sprayed with pesticides have a high concentration of the pesticide in their fat - also causing health problems.
6. Dairy: Many people are allergic to dairy and do best without it. However, some people who cannot tolerate pasteurized dairy do fine on organic raw dairy. I raised my three children on organic raw milk and other raw organic dairy because it was legal to buy in California. All of them did very well on it. The claims of people getting sick from organic raw dairy are unfounded, perpetuated by the pasteurized dairy industry!
My rule of thumb is to eat as close to natural and local as possible. If people didn't eat it 200 years ago, it probably isn't good for us now!
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By Dr. Margaret Paul