Doctors now consider the food we eat as part of therapy if we’re ill, or as preventive treatment to maintain wellness, if we’re not sick.
It’s said that “we are what we eat,” meaning, our health is highly dependent on the foods we consume and our overall dietary habits.
Hence, an emerging field, integrative medicine, aims to give patients a more holistic management by integrating proper nutrition and other lifestyle practices with mainstream medicinal therapies.
Doctors realize that dietary therapy is more complex than previously thought, and are now specializing in medical nutrition.
Gone are the days when patients with diabetes, cancer, or who are overweight, underweight, or have other metabolic problems, or have undergone extensive surgeries, are simply referred to the nutritionist for dietary requirements.
Now these patients are referred to a physician who specializes in medical nutrition. This indicates that proper nutrition is an integral part in the management of patients. The more complicated the case, the more adequate nutrition fits in the treatment equation.
It’s been established that diet is important in the prevention and treatment of all metabolic problems, particularly diabetes.
Dr. Max Sidorov, in collaboration with doctors in the International Council for Truth in Medicine (ICTM), published an e-book on how diabetes could be put under control by intensifying healthy lifestyle changes, particularly diet.
Although I don’t quite agree with what he suggests that antidiabetic medicines and other medicines only worsen the condition, his pointers on health and well-being are worth sharing.
He and his colleagues at ICTM contend correctly that modern man is eating a lot of processed foods, which man wasn’t meant to do in the first place. Our body systems were intended to digest natural and raw foods.
“The more natural and raw food you eat, the faster and easier you will lower your risk of countless diseases and regain your health,” he writes in his e-book.
He advises us to shun “processed garbage food.” Instead, we should load our diets with nutritious fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouted grains and other superfoods like raw, unpasteurized milk, raw butter, spinach, spirulina and coconut oil.
Why raw milk? He cites studies showing that the pasteurization of milk, which is intended to kill bacteria contaminants in the raw milk, also kills the beneficial bacteria called probiotics, and eliminates all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients present in raw milk.
Heating also denatures the proteins in milk, which has been implicated in some medical problems.
So, the golden rule he recommends is to eat and drink everything raw as much as possible. Processed foods should be totally avoided, and consumers should prefer natural, whole, nutrient dense alternatives.
He realizes, however, that this is no easy shift.
He advises: “If you have a craving for some junk, always give yourself an alternative and allow the gradual change to take effect. Take healthy snacks with you, make your own lunch, and get rid of all the temptations at home. Throw away or donate all the junk food you have at home! And if you go to restaurants, find some local vegetarian ones, and taste for yourself how delicious and filling the meals can be.”
Making the shift is really a big challenge, but one has to make the decision, just like the decision to quit smoking for good. If one is not strongly motivated, one will likely backslide.
As first step, he suggests we take a big garbage bag, open our fridge and pantry, and discard all the foods that are making us unhealthy and unwell without our realizing so.
Cookies? Cakes? Pastries? Chips? Chocolate bars? Frozen dinners? All these should go into the garbage bag, Dr. Sidorov says. (Well, you don’t have to throw them. We can perhaps donate them to homeless people with nothing to eat. Junk food is certainly better than no food.)
Next on the list of foods to avoid are slimming shakes or protein shakes that are loaded with flavor enhancers, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils. Some protein or energy bars also contain refined sugar, starch, filling
but poorly digestible soy protein, mucous causing whey protein, artificial flavors and preservatives. Some are marketed as high-fiber protein bars, but they’re really devoid of any beneficial fiber.
Supposedly healthy low-calorie or sugar-free food and drinks can also be deceiving. Soft drinks, including diet soda, are loaded with either sugar or artificial sweeteners which can have long-term side-effects.
He cites data suggesting that some artificial sweeteners simulate and/or promote the release of excitatory neurotransmitters in the brain.
“Neurotransmitters are amino acids or proteins, and when normal neurotransmitters such as aspartame and glutamate cross this barrier in excess, such as when one drinks or eats anything with these artificial sweeteners, they will cause poisoning and lead to the death of the nerve cells within the brain and spinal cord. This is because the blood-brain barrier cannot discern the amount that is needed from too much, leading to various neurological disorders,” he explains.
This may not be an issue if one takes only an occasional glass of diet soda, but if one gulps two liters of diet soft drinks daily like some people I know, this could really be a potentially serious problem.
Dr. Sidorov and his colleagues at the ICTM also do not recommend refined vegetable oils like canola, corn, soybean, sunflower or safflower. They may also cause some inflammatory response or gradual swelling of the linings of the arteries that can subsequently lead to heart disease and other problems.
How about the regular or whole grain cereals we eat for breakfast, which are supposed to be healthy breakfast meals? Not quite so, Dr. Sidorov writes. They are “sugar bombs filled with inflammatory oils, colors and artificial flavors leading to fat loss sabotage and disease.”
So, what else can we eat and drink? We just have to go back to the golden rule—“Eat as much raw food and as little animal food as possible.”
If the food is plant-based or tree-derived, it must be good for our body, especially when eaten as raw as possible.
“As long as you eat more raw fruits and veggies, be they organic or nonorganic, you will have better health,” Dr. Sidorov assures.