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Thursday, January 17, 2008

A WELL BALANCED DIET MAY NOT ENOUGH FOR SOME

A WELL BALANCED DIET MAY NOT ENOUGH FOR SOME

As a nutritionist for many yeas now, I thought I would never make such a statement. But hear me out.

If you are not in ill health, and if you are young and healthy, a well balanced diet is necessary to maintain that state of well-ness we all desire. But, what is a well balanced diet and are there circumstances which preclude the adequacy of a good balanced diet? Additionally, it would be important to note that if you ate a good healthy diet 95% of the time, it would probably be O.K. to eat a so-called bad diet 5% of the time. We call this cheating! Quite frequently, people eat a bad diet most of the time and eat a good diet only some of the time.

A good diet is one that includes whole grains as a major source of starch with some protein, legumes (beans, lentils, etc), vegetables the greener the better, very little meat devoid of much animal fats, fruit, and some nuts.

On my web site there is a very restrictive diet for individuals who are ill. This diet should be considered under the supervision of a nutritionist. I have found it very successful in people, suffering from a number of unrelated ailments.

Whole grains provide healthy protein. When combined with the protein in legumes the combined proteins provide all of the essential amino acids required by the human body. Rice is excellent, especially the short grain brown rice. Wheat, initially, may not be the best because many people are allergic to wheat.

Vegetables, the greener the better, because leafy green vegetables is the only source of magnesium in our diet. Magnesium is the center of the chlorophyl molecule as iron is the center of the hemoglobin molecule. It is interesting to me that both molecules have almost similar protein attached to the central magnesium or iron and both have to do with important transport functions: photosynthesis in the plant and respiration in the body of the human. Additionally, magnesium is a natural tranquilizer and counteracts the spastic qualities of calcium. Magnesium deficiency is probably one of the major causes of people being nervous and of constipation.

Very little meat should be the rule. Humans are omnivores and their long digestive tract is designed to process food from the plant kingdom better than the low bulk of meat. I have always liked the way the Oriental Chinese and Japanese use small amounts of meat to flavor their rice, as contrasted to the Occidental who plops a large piece of meat on the plate with a small amount of accompanying grain or vegetables. The Orientals have been noted to live a healthier life, probably because of their dietary practices. Unfortunately, things are changing in the Orient as many there are adopting a more Western diet. It seems that McDonald’s is popular everywhere it goes. Pity!

To round off our diet it is important to include some fruit and nuts.

A source of some fermented food is always good to include because of the important B vitamins these provide. But fermented foods should be avoided if you might have a condition cause by yeast sensitivity.

When I was younger and, especially, when I was going through Medical School where what I was taught about nutrition could be put on the pointed end of a pin, I believed that all of the vitamins we need for a healthy body would be provided in our food, Over the years observing sick people I have come to change my mind. As we get older our systems do not extract everything the body needs to function properly. This, I believe, is complicated by the foods themselves not containing the nutrients they once had. The forced growing conditions deplete the soil of important micro-nutrients. Although with what I call forced farming we easily replace the nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus by adding fertilizer each year, but we do not replace the micro-nutrients, such as selenium, copper, zinc, and iron to name only a few. As a result the soil becomes depleted and, hence, the food.

There is also another aspect of modern day farming which disturbs me – that is the extensive use of herbicides and pesticides, many of which are absorbed by the plant being farmed. The practice of no till farming requires the use of herbicides to control the weeds which interfere with the growth of the plant being grown for harvest. Many of these herbicides are absorbed by both the weeds and plants. You eat the plant or a by product of the plant and the herbicide is now within your system.

Similarly, most pesticides are also absorbed by the plant and with this too the pesticide enters your system when you eat it. If the plant is used as fodder to raise animals, these chemicals enter the animal and enter your body when you eat the animal product. Additionally, many animals are fed hormones to make them grow faster. Although it is required that hormones and other chemicals are stopped a certain time before the animal is harvested, the animals were nevertheless fed the chemicals during some phases of their growth.

We are all very lucky, however, because I will say sarcastically that the government determines the safety of the plant or animal product by establishing safe limits of these chemicals. My retort has always been: “Perhaps the safe limits of a chemical which nature has NEVER intended to get into the body is ‘ZERO’ rather than some arbitrary figure set by the Federal Government.”

It must also be remembered that most of these herbicides and pesticides are forms of neurotoxins. It is little wonder, at least to me, why so many people are experiencing nervous system-related health conditions. As a personal side note, since moving to Panama, my health has experienced a “C” change in improvement. I believe this is due to the more natural diet I eat here. And I try to eat items I purchase from local road side vendors selling home-grown produce. The meat grown locally comes from cows fed grass and not grains. Although the meat is not the tender meat we buy in the US – in fact, it is quite hard – I believe it is much healthier.

If you have a serious health condition, a simple multivitamin may not be sufficient to cure you. You may need much more. You might need a specific vitamin or supplement in large doses to counteract a particular deficiency. A case in point.

I had a diabetic patient who developed extensive peripheral polyneuropathy. This is a condition where the peripheral nerves begin to degenerate. It began as a simple foot drop where he would stumble over small items such as a one inch threshold at the base of a door. It soon progressed to where he had to use a cane to walk. W started the man on a series of supplements known to be good for the nervous system, and we gave him rather large doses. Two weeks later he consulted a neurologist who told him his disease was incurable, but that perhaps a physiotherapist might help him. He decided, since he thought he was improving on the supplement program, he would not go to the physiotherapist, but that he would continue with his supplements. Within the next two weeks he was able to get rid of the cane and within another two weeks he was almost back to normal. Although he was not able to jitterbug he was, nevertheless, very satisfied with his response. I would like to note that, if he went to the physiotherapist, he would have had a remarkable recovery which the therapist would have concluded was due to his therapy. The neurologist was wrong. This man’s disease was not incurable.

The man still requires the supplements. If he stops the supplements, the weakness in his legs begin to return.

I cannot explain why he requires such large doses of supplements. The only thing I know is that he does. Perhaps he is unable for whatever reason to absorb the supplements or he lacks the transport systems required to process normal amounts of the supplements within his body. But, the fact of the matter is that supplementation worked in this man and others whom we have treated similarly. There is an old saying: “You cannot beat success.” In the case of this man this was so true.

Consider our experience with Vitamin C. I once went to a nutritional seminar where a doctor was recommending large doses of Vitamin C to treat upper respiratory conditions such as infections and wheezing. He emphasized the importance of using powdered Vitamin C saying that the pills do not work. When I went back to my practice I decided to follow his advice, but not having been able to explain in my own mind and accept the importance of the powdered Vitamin C over pills, I used pills. Well, I did not achieve the results he claimed I would. The following year I confronted this physician telling him of my negative experience. There I was in the middle of a small crowd who surrounded the doctor when he asked whether I was using a powdered source of Vitamin C. Of course, I responded “no.” There in front of all those other people he proceeded to tell me that I was a deaf fool and did I not pay attention the year before when he emphasized the importance and necessity of using powdered Vitamin C. As I was shrinking in my own clothes, I took the punishment.

Upon my return to my practice I began to employ powdered Vitamin C and IT WORKED! Why? I do not know and neither did he. If something works, you do not abandon its use if you cannot explain it? If it works, do it and wait for a possible explanation to come later.

In conclusion, a so-called “good diet” may not be enough for some individuals who are experiencing ill health conditions. The addition of specific supplements in high doses may be necessary for some to help their bodies effect a cure.

nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.
Director, Tauraso Medical Clinic
www.drtauraso.com

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