In This Issue  
Home    |    About Us    |    Meet Debbie    |    Meet Friends    |    Prayer    |    Contact Us
Share Print this page Print Email to a friendEmail

< Back to Health & Wellness

The Simplicity of Health

     Achieving a healthy body (that stays vibrant and healthy for life) is not an easy accomplishment for most people in today’s world. Unless you happen to be blessed with exceptionally good genes, the challenges of stress-filled lifestyles, increasing amounts of toxins and a dwindling supply of real nutrients in our food supply make it difficult indeed to escape experiencing some type of physical or mental decline as we age. With over 12,000 named diseases and hundreds of health “do’s” and “don’ts” coming from all kinds of sources (including my articles), it may seem overly simplistic to insinuate that staying healthy and avoiding disease only involves two things.

     Yet that is exactly what I once heard in a lecture given by Dr. Mark Hyman, founder and director of the Ultra Wellness Center, head of the Institute for Functional Medicine (a whole-system medicine approach), and author of numerous best-selling books on health. Dr. Hyman claims that achieving good health can be reduced to two basic ingredients:  “putting the good stuff in” and “getting rid of the bad stuff.”  Considering that health and disease both depend on what happens in the body at a cellular level, another way to express this premise would be – “do the basic units of life (which are the cells) have what they need to thrive and are they free of toxic waste?”

 An Interesting Experiment

     Health truly begins at the cellular level. Our cells – over a trillion of them - are constantly dying off and being replaced. Proper nourishment is essential for replenishing cells so that new cells will be as strong or stronger than the ones replaced. If nutrients needed to run the bodily processes are missing or not getting into the cells, cells cannot be healthy. It is the health and condition of the cells that determines the health and condition of the entire body. 

     An experiment conducted by Dr. Alexis Carrel, a two-time Nobel Prize winning scientist who performed the first kidney transplant, showed that tissues could live indefinitely if kept in a healthy biological terrain. The composition of the fluid that surrounds cells makes up its internal environment or biological terrain. In this experiment, heart tissue from a chicken remained alive for more than 30 years with no signs of deterioration because it was provided the ingredients cells need to thrive:  proper nutrients, oxygen, water, a regulated temperature and an environment free of toxic waste. Only when the assistant neglected to change the mineral-rich solution one day did the heart tissue die.

     This experiment demonstrates that cells will remain healthy when they receive sufficient nutrients (which includes water and oxygen) and when metabolic wastes and toxins are eliminated so they do not block the uptake of those nutrients and hinder the function of the cell. Healthy cells make up healthy tissues, which in turn, comprise the organs and body systems that form a healthy body.

 The Case of the Missing Nutrients

     The problem is that it is not quite so simple in reality. The right nutrients in the right amounts often don’t make it to the cell. Why is this?  A big reason is that the nutrients may not be present in the food that is consumed to begin with. This is because plants cannot contain nutrients if nutrients are missing from the soil in which they are grown. The use of chemical fertilization in modern agriculture that escalated after World War I (something had to be done with the surplus of ammonium nitrate from explosive manufacturing) nearly depleted trace minerals from the soils of our farmlands. Between agricultural chemicals and lack of organic matter in the soil, microorganisms necessary for plants to assimilate minerals were destroyed. This resulted in unhealthy plants subject to insect damage and disease and led to the use of more chemicals in the way of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides that has further depleted our soil.

     Deficiencies of minerals take a particular toll on the health of the body since minerals regulate enzymes and are catalysts for numerous biological processes. Over the last hundred years or so, the level of minerals and other nutrients in the soil has sharply declined.  For instance, it would take 75 pounds of spinach today to get the same amount of iron as one pound of spinach contained in 1945.

     Nutrients in foods we eat today are also lost by picking or harvesting foods before they are naturally ripened. It is during the ripening process that many of the nutrients develop. Tomatoes, for instance, are deliberately picked while still green and then are gassed in tomato trucks as they are transported to the grocery stores.  Even the lovely bunches of tomatoes you see still attached to the vine were picked green and gassed with ethylene (unless they are certified organic or from local farmers). Experiments with groups of rats consuming green tomatoes, tomatoes picked green and then gassed, and vine-ripened tomatoes showed that the gassed green tomatoes had the worst effects on the health of the rats and possessed the least amounts of certain nutrients. 

     Of further concern is the fact that the level of nutrients in produce begins to decline within 24 hours after being harvested from the plant, vine, or tree. The more time that goes by from when the produce is harvested until it is consumed, the more nutrients are depleted. The typical length of time that occurs from when foods are harvested until they appear in grocery stores is approximately two weeks. Off-season produce arriving from other countries may take even longer. Consumers have no clue about the age of produce items since they are treated with myriads of chemicals during their growth, in addition to undergoing processes of waxing or irradiation to delay their decay and give them an appearance of freshness. Let us also not forget that more and more hybrid versions of the produce God created are now genetically modified (80% of corn in this country is genetically modified). The fact that the actual DNA of the plant is tinkered with means the DNA within your body is tinkered with as well when you consume it.  Although the far-reaching effects of GMO foods are still an unknown, studies associate serious health risks with their use that begin with abnormal cellular changes.

     Nutrients are also destroyed or altered by modern processing practices such as refining, milling and bleaching. In addition to genetic engineering and irradiation, hydrogenation, pasteurization, homogenization and other such processes denature nutrients in foods and alter their biochemical composition. The fact that fish are farm-raised and chicken and cattle are grain-fed instead of pasture-fed creates additional nutrient deficiencies and imbalances.

A Double-Whammy

     Depleted nutrients from foods compound the problem of toxic chemicals used to grow and preserve them. Unfortunately, foods are manufactured for shelf life and profit and not the health of our bodies. The burden falls on the liver to break down all of the chemicals contained in commercially grown foods and the chemicals added to the food after it is harvested in the way of food additives, preservatives, artificial flavorings and colorings, and the like. We tend to take it for granted that the liver can successfully deal with this load of ingested toxins, not realizing that the detoxification processes of the liver cannot take place without specific key nutrients. Not only do the processed foods we eat fail to provide our bodies with vital nutrients but they also rob the body of the nutrients needed to break them down. The more toxins the body has to deal with, the fewer nutrients are available for cells to use as energy.

     Chemicals in our foods are just one reason our bodies are so toxic. The liver and other detoxification organs must also deal with chemicals from what we drink, bathe in, put on our skin, clean our houses with, breathe from the air, etc. in addition to toxins created as by-products of metabolic waste within our own bodies. Although these toxins may not be visible or noticed, toxicity levels from combined amounts of chemicals from personal care products, household cleaning products, yard care products, building materials, industrial contamination, water treatment chemicals, air pollution, electromagnetic pollution, and other sources are staggering (for more information on this subject, I would refer you to my article “Detoxifying for Better Health – Part 1”). An overload of toxins in the body causes free radical damage and subsequent inflammation to cells and tissues. Inflammation and free radical damage from oxidative stress is at the root of numerous disease conditions people suffer with today. Excess toxins can also accumulate in fatty tissues and organs or be reabsorbed into the bloodstream when organs of elimination are overburdened.

Taking Charge of Your Health

     Giving the cells of the body what they need to thrive and keeping them free of toxic waste may not be such a simple matter in a society with such a nutritionally deficient food supply and toxic environment. Our stressful and overly busy lives make us much more apt to grab a bite from a fast food restaurant or pop a processed meal in the microwave than they do to take time to shop for and prepare meals made from whole natural foods.

     There is no escaping the fact that it requires commitment and a concerted effort to “swim upstream” and make daily choices that place the health of our bodies above ease, convenience and popular faire food items that tantalize our taste buds. But if we are to be good stewards of the body God has given us in order to more effectively serve Him, we need to say “no” to that which is harmful and health destroying and “yes” to that which will nourish our cells and build a stronger and healthier body.

     I would encourage you to take responsibility for your health and make the best choices you can each day to ensure that your body receives the nutrients it needs. If you would like specific guidelines for what foods to eat or not eat to give your body the best opportunity to be healthy, I believe you will find helpful information in my articles “Eat Real Food,” “The Type of Carb Matters,” “Powered by Protein” and “True Facts on Fat” from the “Health Gain-Weight Loss” series.  For information on how to minimize your toxic exposure and detoxify your body from accumulated toxins, I would recommend that you read my series “Detoxifying for Better Health.”

Concluding Thoughts

     To enjoy abundant health and not have to experience the degenerative diseases that most people suffer with and die from in their later years is worth the time, trouble, and expense it may take to give your body what it needs to thrive. Take time to learn about your body and how you can naturally give it what it needs to healthy. Become more aware of what is and is not contained in the foods you are eating (and beverages you drink) and do your best to only eat the whole natural foods God created for your well-being. Quality nutritional supplements and herbs can help to fill in the gaps when you cannot get sufficient amounts of the right nutrients from foods.

     Don’t take your health for granted or wait until you develop disease symptoms or get back negative lab reports before you make caring for your health a top priority.  Rather than degenerate as you grow older, you can provide your cells with the best environment today to regenerate new healthy cells that will build a healthier you!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Lucinda Bedogne, CNHP, CNC

Post Your Comment...

First Name
Last Name
e-mail   (We will not re-distribute your e-mail.)

Share on Facebook Share
Print this page Print This Page
Email to a friendEmail Article to a Friend

< Back to Health & Wellness

More Great Articles

My Friend Debbie - Turn Old Man Winter Into A Breath of Fresh AirHome & Hospitality

Turn Old Man Winter Into A Breath of Fresh Air
My Friend Debbie - Chicken and Rice CasseroleKitchen Keeper Recipes

Chicken and Rice Casserole
My Friend Debbie - Corolla, NC with GirlfriendsTravel

Corolla, NC with Girlfriends