October 16, 2013 | Posted in Aging, Digestion / Liver, Immune System, Men's Health, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Women's Health

Nutrition is the overarching term for understanding what kind of nourishment supports life.
Diet refers to the specific choices and habits of food use. See Diet. People also refer to the ‘mental diet’ a person has in his/her thoughts, books, and TV programs he/she chooses.

Healthy nutrition principles center on these areas:
1. QUALITY OF FOOD AND SENSORY EXPERIENCES
2. RHYTHM OF EATING
3. PREPARATION OF FOOD FOR DIGESTIBILITY
4. MODERATE AMOUNTS, CHEWED WELL, RECEIVED GRATEFULLY

QUALITY OF FOOD AND SENSORY EXPERIENCES
‘Not by bread alone doth man live’ was spoken long ago, and repeated for its wisdom. Both our sensory diet and our food diet need to be of high quality.

The human structure is made of life forces– subtle ethers — and substance. As a plant builds carbohydrates from sunlight, the human, too, has a light metabolism which explains part of the way our sensory experiences build our substance. Live music, undisturbed nature, and real artwork feed us differently than electronic sounds, commercial and concrete settings, and art for the sake of selling.  Our eyes, skin, and senses are the sensory digestive system.  Modern life imposes sensory experiences such as the flickering of visual images as we ride in a car, endless traffic sounds and electronic voices and beeps.  The substance of our bodies is literally constructed differently on different sensory diets. (If this were recognized, think how different our environment would be.  Presently food establishments occupy a major portion of our real estate.  If all the buildings which relate to food — restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores — were equaled in number by spaces for nature or for creating our own art and experiencing live art and music, we would have renewed nutrition through healthy sensory experiences.) See Picture of the human being, Light Metabolism, Etheric body.

We are not what we eat so much as we are how we act.  We use our digestive strength, our life forces, to overcome the food life forces. We do battle with the plant nature and animal nature, and break the food substance down into tiny parts, into chaos.  It is a battle.  See Digestion. We become stronger with the battle.

The food we eat strengthens us and we turn it into action.  These actions may be thinking, or feeling, or willing and doing.   The greater the life force of our food, the more it gives us what we need. The greater the processing of the food, the more life forces are lost.   Processed food contributes to obesity because it weakens us:  the processed food has no life forces for us to work against, to become stronger from.  We become more like formless matter, a rounded drop.

It is always better to choose real food of high quality over supplements of high quality, with rare exceptions.

Quality of food is more in our awareness than is quality of our sensory diet.

There is growing awareness of the effects of agri-farming on wheat quality, increasing gliadin content and contributing to obestiy. Chemicals abound in food, water, air, soil. A study of earthworms showed the average earthworm contains 37 chemicals, and one of them is Prozac. Genetic engineering unleashes original disruption from the physical matter that ensures life’s stability from one generation to the next. The chemicalized farming practices diminish nutrient content in food, and batter its living quality, a harder thing to measure; but it is well known that organic vegetables stored a while come back to life with a short soak in water better than standard chemically farmed vegetables. Prize winning restaurants use organic and biodynamic food, knowing these provide the best appearance and richness of flavor.

The ordinary person seeking high quality food has to swim upstream: read labels, develop new skills (growing one’s own garden), seek new resources (farmers’ markets, co-ops, local farmers, CSAs {Community Supported Agriculture}).

The bottom line is to EAT ORGANIC NON-GMO FOOD.

In today’s world, this is the only safe path to tread to provide nutrients and not chemicals to the growing bodies of our children, to support the ill or elderly towards their best function, and for the healthy individual to function optimally. And yet, it is nearly impossible to do this as well as we would like to do. Humans make heroic efforts for their families, and this is part of the environment we give to our families. Our resilience and courage feeds our children’s developing soul capacities, even though we may have to compromise on the quality of physical food sometimes.

RHYTHM OF EATING
One sentence sums it up: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, supper like a pauper. Once you have found your high-quality (organic non-gmo)food, this is the healthiest way to eat it.

This rhythm of eating is in sync with our liver and digestive cycle. Digesting is most efficient for half the day (3 am until 3 pm) and housecleaning and healing the other half of the day (3 pm till 3 am). There is folk wisdom illustrating this, such as the South American saying that one should ‘starve your friends at supper, and feed your enemies.’  New research on insulin surges document the wisdom of avoiding eating several hours before retiring. It is known that the hours of sleep before midnight are more restorative, so last meals would be 5-6 pm, and preferably ‘like a pauper.’ Another way to conceptualize this is to consume animal products primarily at breakfast and lunch, and be vegetarian at night.

PREPARE FOOD FOR DIGESTIBILITY
The cookbook Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, brings research and recipes side-by-side, showing the food preparation methods which  supported the greatest health across time and in many cultures. Fermented foods, soaking grains before cooking, using healthy fats are all themes. Food quality is thoroughly discussed.  See Fermented foods.

Indigestible emotions can lie like undigested food.  The unity of the human being offers insights into healthy sensory, soul, and physical nourishment.

MODERATE AMOUNTS, CHEWED WELL, RECEIVED GRATEFULLY
Supersize meals are not healthy meals. The cultures with centenarians (people over 100 years old) often do not eat nearly as much food as North Americans do.

When food is nutrient poor, appetite is never satisfied. Nutrient dense foods, such as salmon, nuts, blueberries, healthy broths, bring satiety. Processed foods and liquid sugars are most likely to encourage addictions and overeating. Protein gives the greatest satiety (appetite killing). Eating protein first in the meal signals to the stomach that hydrochloric acid and pepsin are needed. Fruits are best eaten after protein, so the more difficult energy-consuming digestion is accomplish, and the lighter carbohydrate digestion left later in a meal.

‘Chew your food until it is liquid, then drink it.’
‘Chew each mouthful 50 times.’
‘Chew and listen while someone else talks at the meal. Then take your turn.’

All these forms of mindfulness promote healthy digestion. Part of our diet is the social sharing that meals bring, the opportunity to appreciate and be appreciated through conversation.

“Silver rain, shining sun,Fields where scarlet poppies run,

And all the ripples in the wheat Are in the bread that we do eat.

So when I sit at every meal and say a grace,

I always feel that I am eating rain and sun, and fields where scarlet poppies run.”

Alice Henderson

The moment before we start eating, we take in the appearance of our food, the aroma, the warmth of the plate, the faces around us, and in gratitude to nature and life, begin the everyday sacrament of receiving nourishment, sometimes speaking aloud our acknowledgment.

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Resources

Wheat Belly, Davis, William, Rodale Books, 2011.

Nourishing Traditions, Fallon, Sally, New Trends Publishing, 2001.

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