The digestive system, like the whole body in which it works and plays, is in alignment with the natural rhythms of the day and night, the rising and setting of the sun. This is called “circadian rhythm” and it is built into our dna.
It’s a simple but powerful principle. Complement this principle and your body thrives. Insult this principle and your body develops dis-ease.
Centenarians (people who live to be 100 years old or older) almost without exception practice this principle either intuitively or from guidance from their culture and ancestral traditions.
The simplest way to describe it in its most practical application related to eating is this: Eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunch and a pauper at dinner.
Try it yourself for one week. This principle is transformational. It is a remedy for all digestive disorders, symptoms, conditions and it is a recipe for easy weight loss too.
There is a saying in the Russian military that goes like this: Have breakfast by yourself, have lunch with a friend, give supper to your enemy!
Nuff said. Try it out for seven days in a row. You will experience remarkable improvements in your digestive health and your overall health and well-being too.
I was 15 years old on that first official Earth Day in the spring of 1970. It was a beautiful sunny day as the one thousand or so students and faculty of my high school in Scotch Plains, New Jersey gathered on the front lawn to plant a tree. As I write these words I am holding the commemorative button that each of us received that day and I will wear it again proudly all day as I do every year.
Here is a brief excerpt from my favorite Earth Day poem:
This we know. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites us all in one family. Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand within it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
These words for many years were attributed to Chief Seattle (Sealth) who was the leader of the Duwanish Tribe in the Washington Territory; in a letter to then US President Franklin Pierce in 1854 to mark the transfer of ancestral Native Lands to the US Government. More recently these words have been attributed to the poet Ted Perry.
It seems a simple and obvious point to make but here goes. Everything we define as nutrition and nourishment, the quality of our food and water, the quality of the air we breathe, the health of the soil in which most of our food crops are grown; is all determined by the health of our environment, the various ecosystems that make up this fragile skin of mother earth in which we live, work and play.
It makes sense to take better care of our environment. The quality of the health and life of every cell in our body ultimately depends on the quality of the health and life of the environment; the land, sea, air…the earth.
Whatever we do to the earth, we do to ourselves.
Let’s remember to find and do the things that nourish ourselves, our cells and our earth best…today and in all the days ahead!
Let’s Celebrate Earth Day!
April 22, 2015
Giving thanks, (to God or the ultimate source of our food, nature, the earth, the sun, the soil, the rain, the plants, the animals, the farmers, grocers, chefs, cooks) before consuming our meals is a tradition universal to all people on planet earth and goes back to the earliest origins of human consciousness, culture and civilization.
It’s a real good idea for many reasons. An attitude of gratitude is universally acknowledged as a very wise and nourishing tradition or habit.
And today, in our modern world of endless multi-tasking distractions, cultivating (that means “practicing”) the habit of Giving Thanks before starting to eat anything is a very practical and helpful and complementary habit to develop.
Why? The choices about what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are radically different than the choices our ancestors faced just a few generations ago. Why is this? What’s happened to our food supply?
Think about it.
Before you start eating that next meal. Stop. Pause. Take a deep breath.
Now, think about it! What am I about to eat? Why am I about to eat this? What’s going to happen to my stomach, digestive system, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, internal organs, the cells in my body, as a consequence of eating what I am about to eat?
Before eating anything ask yourself a simple question: What nourishes me best? What nourishes my cells best?
Bringing this level of awareness to the selection, preparation and consumption of our meals will alter our choices; will improve our choices and these improved choices will improve the quality of our cells, the quality of our health and the quality of our life.
Nothing is neutral. Every choice we make is either complementary or insulting to the normal functioning of our digestive system and our entire body. Our ability and willingness to make better choices makes all the difference in the world.
Giving Thanks before consuming our meals is a really smart idea.
Do this simple experiment. Make an ironclad commitment to Give Thanks before each and every meal and snack you consume for seven days in a row. Not the rest of your life, just the next seven days in a row.
Doing this will change your life! Giving Thanks is transformational.
A word to the wise is sufficient.
When it comes to the relationship between the health of our digestive system and what we eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks: nothing is neutral. Most of us have been conditioned to believe that WHAT we eat for meals and snacks is the most important thing of all but it’s not. Equally important and in some cases and conditions even MORE important are considerations of WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW MUCH, and HOW we eat what we eat.
In this regard, NOTHING is more important than chewing our food properly completely, effectively.
Chewing our food is an example of what I call, an Integrity Gap. Everyone knows we are supposed to chew our food, but very few people remember to do it consistently and fewer still remember why.
Here’s why: It works! The endogenous digestive enzymes (the digestive enzymes made by our body) for the digestion (or breaking down) of all carbohydrates are in our saliva. The more we chew the more digestive enzymes our body produces. If we don’t digest carbohydrates in our mouth as the result of proper chewing, they don’t get digested anywhere else. And this causes many problems downstream.
The lack of proper chewing results in a condition called INDIGESTION which is without question the number one digestive system disorder or complaint in the world today.
The list of symptoms caused by INDIGESTION which is caused by the lack of proper, complete and effective CHEWING...is endless.
So, we may not have total control over what we eat, or when we eat or where we eat due to our work schedule, parenting schedule, school schedule etc but we always 100% of the time have total control over HOW we at and that includes chewing.
Slow down. Chew each mouthful until it becomes liquid in your mouth. Don’t put more food in your mouth until the first bite is swallowed. This sounds so simple doesn’t it? Try it. Do it!
Do this simple experiment. Make an ironclad commitment to chew each mouthful until it becomes liquid in your mouth for each and every mouthful for each and every meal…for seven days in a row.
Doing this will change your life! And your stomach will thank you more than you can imagine. Proper chewing is transformational.
Here’s a bonus feature on chewing: Guess what mother’s did before the advent of industrialized, mass produced baby food? Guess what the original baby food was? C’mon…guess! Yes, you guessed it. The mother would take the same food she was going to eat herself, chew it up thoroughly into a liquid pulp, spit it into a bowl and feed it to her baby. The pre-chewed baby food contained digestive enzymes and probiotics (healthy bacteria) from the mother. This simple process ensured the highest quality nutrition for the baby with little to no burping, indigestion, colic, or spitting up on the part of the baby. Happy belly? Happy baby. Happy baby? Happy Momma. Happy Momma? Happy home.
When we find and do the things that nourish us best all will be well today and in all the days ahead. CHEWING is one of the things that nourishes EVERYONE best. No exceptions. CHEWING is an exceptional habit and one of the MOST COMPLEMENTARY health habits of all.
A word to the wise is sufficient. Eat less. Chew more.
1. Always say “grace” at mealtimes. (before, during, after)
2. Always sit down when you eat.
3. Always chew each mouthful completely.
4. Avoid eating or drinking anything too cold.
5. Avoid eating late at night.
6. Avoid processed foods and junk foods and junk beverages.
7. Always select the highest quality organic whole foods.
In the next few days I will focus on one habit at a time and describe in more detail why certain habits are complementary or helpful to a normally functioning digestive system and our overall health and well-being and why certain habits are insulting and actively harmful, preventing us from reaching our healthy goals.
The Roots of Health, Day 20
Nothing is Neutral
The first principle in our Functional Medicine, Functional Nutrition Health model is this: the body is constantly healing itself. Every cell in our body is genetically programmed to detect problems, protect and defend, cleanse and detoxify, take in vital nutrients, function normally and eliminate metabolic waste products safely and efficiently. As we have been saying for weeks: cells are amazing!
When it comes to the relationship between the health of our whole body and what we eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, supplements, medications, and everything else that impacts our physiology; water, other beverages, sleep and rest, movement and exercise, the air we breathe, the environment, our work, job, career, money, financial security, relationships, communication; in other words: almost EVERYTHING that impacts us in any way, shape or form…
Nothing is neutral.
Nothing we do, take into our bodies or interface with in any way; is neutral.
Nothing has a neutral impact.
Everything is either helpful or harmful.
Everything is either complementary or insulting. Everything is either contributing to the restoration or optimization of normal healthy functioning of our organs, systems and cells or it’s not. And if it is not, it is actively blocking or preventing or impeding our body’s ability to function normally. If it is harmful or insulting it is actively contributing to the process of degeneration and dis-ease in our body.
Health is the presence of vitality, flexibility and ease.
Illness is the lack of vitality, flexibility and ease.
The proof of any degenerative process having taken up residence in our body is the lack of vitality, flexibility and ease.
This is why it is called disease. Dis-ease.
All dis-ease has the same root causes.
The way to reverse all dis-ease is to stop doing the things that make us sick and to start doing the things that make us well and healthy.
Health is defined by the presence of vitality, flexibility and ease.
All truly successful health and healing programs have certain principles and practices in common. This is because we share a common physiology.
In my next blog I am going to begin a conversation about the Habits that Harm and the Habits that Heal, especially as these habits relate to and impact upon our digestive systems.
The Roots of Health, Day 19
Physical Health is the foundation upon which we build the rest of our lives. The quality of our physical health is determined by the quality of the life of our cells.
Cells are amazing! Cells live amazing lives! The cells inside our own body perform countless miracles every second of every day. We need to take better care of our cells.
The relationship between nutrition and health is not casual it’s causal. What nourishes our cells best, nourishes us best.
For the body to work, each cell needs to maintain its integrity as an independent being, yet be devoted to the health of the whole.
Each cell is a living individual, a sentient being that has its own life and functions but interacts with other cells in the nature of a community.
Cells not only teach us about the mechanisms of life, but also teach us how to live rich full lives.
Time heals all wounds when we find and do the things that nourish our cells best!
To read the complete essay: The Care of the Cell, click on the link below:
Proper Daily Hydration and The Watercure Recipe
Proper Daily Hydration may be the single most important health habit there is next to breathing and getting proper sleep and rest. 55 to 75% of the physical structure of every cell in our body is composed of water, that is; salt water: (called cytosol) and floating in this salt water are all the nutrients and chemicals that our cells need to do the amazing number and variety of metabolic tasks they do every second of every day throughout our entire lives. Draught or deficiency of water inside our cells at any level creates problems, or symptoms. Many symptoms of dis-ease are the body’s many cries for water. Chronic unintentional dehydration is the root cause of so many preventable symptoms and conditions. Please read the whole story here and follow the seven simple steps of The Watercure Recipe and you will see dramatic improvement in your health, no matter what the condition is and no matter how long you have been suffering. Proper Daily Hydration is one of the most complementary and biomodulating health habits there is!
What is our Dream?
All this information we have been exploring during the past few weeks about healthy cells invites us to consider an intriguing possibility; that what connects us and unites us is far stronger than what separates us or keeps us apart. It means that teamwork makes the dream work!
This begs the question: What is our dream?
Is there a dream that most people would agree that we hold in common?
What is it that most people really want?
“Most of us want to breathe clean air and drink clean water. We want tasty, nutritious food uncontaminated with toxins. We want meaningful work, a living wage and security in our old age. We want a say in the decisions our government makes. We want world peace.”
Agenda for a New Economy, David C. Korten
What is Real Wealth?
“Real Wealth is a healthy fulfilling life; healthy, happy children; loving families and a caring community within a beautiful, healthy natural environment. Real wealth is a fulfilling means of livelihood that affirms our inherent worth and service to the whole. Real wealth is a peaceful world. These are the things of real value and the only true valid measure of any successful business or economic system.”
Agenda for a New Economy, David C. Korten
Question: Is there a better way to achieve what most people want in life? And are there lighthouse principles to guide us along the way? And are these principles similar to the principles that can guide us to achieve greater cellular health and well-being?
“Our Dream is for One Peaceful World through the biological
transformation of humanity.” Michio Kushi
How best is this dream for one peaceful world achieved?
Let’s continue to explore.
We know that one of the answers is to take better care of our cells.
And we know that another answer is to take better care of the community in which we live, work and play; (and eat, pray and love).
When we say something like; “We live and die at the cellular level” what is it that we are really saying?
Isn’t it that we live and die at the cellular level, inside and out?
Isn’t it that we live simultaneously as independent cells or independent beings and that we live socially and communally as integral members inside of a diverse and interdependent community?
All the choices we make affect our cells and affect the health of our bodies.
All the choices we make affect the health of our communities and our world.
The dream for one peaceful world depends on each of us working together for the health and prosperity of ourselves, each other and the whole community.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
What Does All This Mean?
During the last week or so, I have been sharing information about the inner workings of cells and how these inner workings are affected by our nutritional choices. Over the next few days, I’d like to share some thoughts about what this all means.
All this information about the inner workings of cells and how it is all impacted by our nutritional choices is all very good news. It means we are in the driver’s seat. We are in control.
It means that nutrition determines genetic expression.
It means that we need to learn how to take better care of our cells.
It means that we need to learn how to BE and BECOME more proactive in our own self-care. It means that all will be well in our lives, to the degree we learn to find and consistently do the things that truly nourish ourselves and our cells…best!
It Also Means…
It also means that our health depends upon the health of others.
It also means that the health of others depends on us and the quality of our health.
It also means that we live in synergistic and interdependent relationships with others just like the cells inside our own bodies.
It means that human beings are community-oriented, community-minded, community-focused, community-driven…BY NATURE…meaning that this relationship-family-community thing is hard-wired and cannot be changed!
It means that human beings are inherently committed to building and maintaining and optimizing healthy interdependent relationships, communities and teams. It means that; like the cells inside our own bodies, there is no such thing as real independence; only healthy or unhealthy interdependence. And this is very good news for all of us!
All this information invites us to consider an intriguing possibility; that what connects us and unites us is far stronger than what separates us or keeps us apart. It means that teamwork makes the dream work! Which begs the question: What is our dream?