A Bioenergetic View of Nutrition

Nutrition is one of the most important topics for maintaining good health, preventing disease and maintaining a positive mental and emotional state. But few conventional doctors are trained beyond the basics in nutrition and most understate its importance. My doctor told me less than a day of his seven years’ at medical school was devoted to the subject!

Conventional Western medicine looks at nutrition largely in terms of its physical and chemical composition. It takes account, for instance, of the metabolism of macro-nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) and micro-nutrients like vitamins and trace minerals. But the Science of Bio-energetics takes a broader perspective. It recognises that food and drink has energetic and informational aspects too, and that people must get not only the right biochemical elements from their food, but also vital energy.

Nutrition must be considered not only from a biological and chemical point of view, but also as a provider of energy such as light and information.

Nutrition from a Biological and Chemical Perspective

Conventional medicine considers food in three main groups – proteins, fats and carbohydrates – plus vitamins, essential minerals and so on.

Carbohydrates are made of sugars and starch. But simple sugars provide only ‘empty’ calories. They have high calorific value but do not contain any vitamins or minerals. Starch is made up of more complex sugars and provides the main energy reservoir of grains, roots, bulbs and seeds.

Fats are energy providers; they have twice the biological calorific value of carbohydrates or proteins and store huge amounts of energy. If there is a deficiency of carbohydrates, fats and proteins are converted into energy. Vegetable fats are primarily composed of mono- and poly-saturated fatty acids. Animal fats are primarily made of unsaturated fatty acids and have a more solid form. Fats (fat pads) pads protect organs from injuries and serve as temperature insulation; they facilitate the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins; and are flavour carriers for fat-soluble flavours and aromas.

Proteins are made of amino acids. There are essential and non-essential amino acids. The essential ones cannot be synthesised by the body and must be supplied through food. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, proteins cannot be stored in the body and must be provided on a daily basis. Their best-known function is to build up muscles, but they also serve to store certain minerals, maintain the body’s shape, regulate enzymes and hormones, maintain immune defence and transmit nerve impulses.

Vitamins are crucial to body function and support the healing process, but cannot be synthesised by the body. There are fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K ) and water-soluble vitamins (the rest). Fat-soluble vitamins can only be taken up with fat, which means that we can gulp down lots of fat-soluble vitamins but without fat they cannot be absorbed.

Essential minerals include calcium, potassium and magnesium and trace minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, selenium and iron.

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Bioenergetic Nutrition

Subtle energies play a significant role in nutrition. Every cell has innate intelligence so the body knows instinctively what is good for it and what is not. It recognises and welcomes healthy sources of nutrition that meet its needs.

The body also knows what is not healthy and tries to eliminate it, sometimes drastically (i.e. sickness or diarrhoea). Unfortunately many people bombard their digestive systems unhealthy nutrition – sugary drinks, excessive fat, food that has had the goodness processed out of it or is cooked to extinction – until the body is overwhelmed and at the last resort packs up altogether.

Living organisms are sustained by a vital force or ‘life force’ that cannot be explained in terms of traditional physics and chemistry. It (or its lack) is responsible for much that happens in health and disease.

To eat and drink healthily, you must know:

  1. What vital energy comes with what foodstuffs?
  2. Bearing in mind that people are different, what foods are appropriate for you, to provide the vital energy you need? How do you take account of your body type and lifestyle, etc.?

A significant part of your energy comes from food, but food is more than just a source of thermal or chemical energy – because the magnetic, gravitational and light energy of your nutrients are the basis of all of the building and repairing molecules that become your body.

Individual differences

The ancient healers were aware of the need to take account of different body types. For example, the Chinese identified yin (cold) and yang (hot) types. Hot body types need cold food (e.g. vegetables and salads) and cold body types hot food (e.g. meat, onions and spices).

Ayurveda works with three elemental energies or humors: vata (air & space – ‘wind‘), pitta (fire & water – ‘bile‘) and kapha (water & earth – ’phlegm‘). When these three are in balance, the body is healthy; if not, it is diseased. Everyone has a unique combination of vata, pita and kapha. One ingenious way of assuring a balanced diet in Ayurvedic Medicine is to include some of each of the six tastes – salt, sweet, astringent, bitter, pungent and sour – in the diet every day.

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Biophotons in Food

Recent discoveries about the bio-photons that radiate light from the cells of plants and animals reveal a great deal about the health of the body and the food we eat.

In the 1970s, Dr Fritz-Albert Popp showed that living systems depend on light. They exist inside a coherent photon field, and biophotons are responsible for cellular communication and regulating biological functions. He later developed a device to detect biophotons from plant and animal cells which is now being used to determine the quality of food.

Popp also found that healthy people emit light rhythmically and in a balanced way. For example, cancer patients lack these rhythms; multiple sclerosis sufferers exhibit too much light. He concluded that health was a delicate balance between chaos and order. Too much coherence causes the system to collapse. (Consider an army which staggers its steps when marching across a bridge. If all footsteps fell at the same time, the bridge could collapse.)

Some conclusions

Nutrition is crucial in health and healing. It’s also a popular subject in the media – they give out loads of healthy eating messages, many of which are confusing and contradictory.  Healthy eating is big business – large companies promote a variety of eating regimes which achieve mass popularity, only to be discarded when the next fad comes along.

Doctors advocate a ‘balanced diet’ in general, but don’t always give nutrition the attention it deserves, nor grasp the differences between individual patients from a nutritional point of view. Holistic healers have known for centuries that nutrition is important. Dietary therapy is a vital plank of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the Ayurvedic practitioners of India developed a sophisticated approach based on individual body types and the characteristics and tastes of foods.

Mainstream science has a problem with ‘vital energy’ because it can’t be seen, smelt, heard or tasted. Hence it is often ignored. But the best bio-energetic practitioners understand what vital energy comes with which foodstuffs, and how it can be best preserved though the storage and cooking process.

In general, the fresher and more natural the food, the fewer additives and the less processing, transporting, storage and cooking, the higher its bio-energetic value. This is what we should all be aiming for.

©David Lawrence Preston, 15.1.2019

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Malnutrition in the 21st Century

There’s a hidden sickness in the so-called developed world that afflicts millions and is causing our bodies to deteriorate at a much faster rate than Mother Nature intended. It affects young and the old alike and makes no distinction between rich and poor yet hardly any of us are aware of it. The condition is malnutrition.

Malnutrition does not necessary mean not enough food. Indeed, people who habitually overeat and are obese can be malnourished if they binge on nutrient-deprived junk foods or whose diet lacks balance. For example, they may eat packaged thinking they are full of vitamins without realising they are crammed with high levels of salt and sugar and contain virtually no nutrients whatsoever?

Diagnosis rates in the UK have risen by nearly 50% in the past 5 years, and yet the truth is that most sufferers are not even aware they’re affected until later in life when it manifests in a variety of chronic and degenerative health problems ranging from Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart disease and even cancer. But by then it’s too late to do anything about it.

Malnutrition starves the bodies of the essential vitamins and nutrients that it need to function healthily. Both this and obesity are on the increase because we’re literally eating ourselves sick with the wrong kind of food, and we’ve been doing so for at least the last 50 years. Two or three generations have grown up not knowing any better, and some don’t care.  For example, in the UK (and I have no doubt this also applies in other countries):

  • Too high a proportion of our food budget – perhaps 90 per cent – is spent on processed foods.
  • We’re eating less home-cooked food and more convenience food and more takeaways than ever before.
  • We’re eating later in the day which means we don’t digest our food properly.
  • Many skip meals or grab a sandwich on the run rather than take their time to enjoy their food.

All this is storing up trouble for the future.

You may think you’re eating a healthy diet, but unless you pay attention, consciously choose healthy foods and read and understand labels your body may be deficient in vital nutrients that, if uncorrected, can lead to a whole host of degenerative health problems.

So from now on pay attention to what you eat and make adjustments if required. You owe it to yourself!

©FGATT, 6.3.2017

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Let your food be your medicine

‘Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.’

Hippocrates

More than 2,000 years ago the Greek doctor and philosopher, Hippocrates, articulated an idea that has proved its worth over and over again, the idea that what we take into our bodies has a significant effect on our health and wellbeing and that adjusting our nutritional intake is vital for healing.

Indeed, most healing approaches, East and West, involve ingesting substances that alter the biochemistry of the body in some way. In the Chinese tradition, they also recognised that they impact on the body’s energy pathways too.

A Poor Diet

A poor diet can suppress the immune system, irritate the main organs, initiate disease and increase physical and mental stress. People who have a poor diet undoubtedly get ill more often.

There’s plenty of advice in the media – some of it quite contradictory, for example:

  • Not all fatty food is bad for you. Sure, an excess of saturated fat affects the immune system and causes inflammation that makes a person obese. But balance is everything; without a moderate amount of fat, the body cannot absorb or store certain vitamins.
  • Tea and coffee are widely understood to be harmful because of the caffeine levels, but three or four cups of tea or coffee a day reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Decaffeinated tea and coffee work just as well so it’s likely other compounds like antioxidants and magnesium are responsible for these health benefits.
  • Sugar is universally regarded as harmful because of the effect it has on blood sugar levels and obesity. Global sales of sugary and artificially sweetened drinks rise every year. Yet not all sugars are bad; natural sugar found in fruit and vegetables is not at all harmful.
  • Conventional medical wisdom says that most heart attacks and strokes are caused by cholesterol, and while it’s true that cholesterol builds up plaque in the arteries, it’s the plaque, not the mere presence of cholesterol that is dangerous.

Try this: Write down everything you have ingested in the last 48 hours. How much of it is truly healthy or has a healing effect? And how much is potentially damaging?

A good diet

In a nutshell, a good diet is one that gives the body what it needs when it needs it and avoids unnecessary toxins and pollutants.

It contains sufficient – but not excess – fat, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain and fibre. It aids blood sugar regulation and minimises toxins such as chemical food additives, salt, caffeine and nicotine. It helps maintain the correct acid/alkaline balance (most modern diets are much too acidic).

Healthy fluids are also essential – fresh water, fruit and herbal infusions and fresh fruit juice, minimising alcohol and sweet, fizzy drinks.

It must also take account of food allergies. I have known people who suffer from allergies to nuts, wheat/gluten, dairy, candida and yeast. These are not mere food fads but serious problems when ignored. Anyone who suspects they are affected should have themselves checked out.

I have also known people who rigorously follow special diets – Atkins, Hay, macrobiotic, blood-type diets and so on. Generally speaking there is little scientific evidence to support fad diets so be careful.

Dietary supplements

Much of our food is artificially grown in barren soil or even wire wool sprayed with chemicals. It is deficient in nutrients that were much more plentiful a century ago. Hence many people would benefit from taking a dietary supplement to ensure the body sufficient fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, anti-oxidants and calcium. A quality multi-vitamin and mineral pill daily is sufficient for most purposes.

Nutritional therapy

Nutritional therapists aim to discover nutritional factors which affecting a person’s general health and wellbeing. They suggest specific changes to their clients’ diet to try and prevent or alleviate illness. Conditions helped by nutritional therapy can range from relatively minor health problems to chronic complaints like fatigue, depression, joint pain, skin disease, migraines, eating disorders and asthma. Nutritional therapy plays a huge part in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Moderation in all things

When people ask me for my views on nutrition, unless they have a particular health condition or allergy (in which  case I suggest they consult a doctor) I offer two simple suggestions:

(1) Moderation in all things – if 90% of your diet is healthy, a little of what you fancy won’t harm you;

(2) Stick to natural, cruelty-free food as much as possible as part of your responsibility to other living creatures and the planet.

Hippocrates’ advice to let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food is probably the best health advice ever given and is probably more relevant today than ever!

 

©FGATT, 6.3.2017

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Health, Nutrition and Stress

Do you value your health? What kind of fuel do you put into your body? Do you pickle your brain and liver with alcohol? Clog your arteries with grease? Blacken your lungs with tobacco smoke? Are you slim and full of energy, or overweight and sluggish? Do you huff and puff going up stairs?

Health is our least appreciated asset.

We owe it to ourselves to attain the best possible level of health and fitness. We need to be healthy to enjoy life to the full and handle stress. We can’t trade our bodies in for new ones; we must make the best of the one we have.

Good health is about good habits. Some habits work for you, some don’t. Smoking is a habit that can kill you. Living off junk food will cause you to put on weight and put strain on your vital organs. On the other hand, the habit of daily exercising and deep breathing gets you into shape and gives you more energy.

Good health demands a total approach incorporating physical factors (i.e. nutrition, exercise, fluids,  breathing etc.), a healthy energetic environment  and the psychological.

What to Eat (and Avoid)

Hippocrates (460-377 BC), the ‘Father of Medicine’, wrote, ‘Let your food be your medicine and medicine be your food.’

Food is like a drug which affects the functioning of your body and brain. Poor nutrition is proven to result in lack of energy and brain-power, poor health, and lower resistance to disease.

All nutritionists agree:

  • Cut down on refined starch and sugar
  • Have sufficient protein
  • Control fat intake
  • Increase fibre
  • Eat plenty of raw plant food

Avoid unhealthy foods and cultivate a taste for healthy foods! Easy, isn’t it? So what’s the problem? The problem is, the foods people enjoy most are the least desirable from a health point of view. The healthiest foods are not necessarily the tastiest. For instance, refined sugar contains only calories (no other nutrients) and plays havoc with blood sugar levels.

Protein helps to keep your body in good working order. Thirty to forty grams per day is needed by most people. If you eat meat, opt for white meats (such as chicken), and fish. In addition to animal sources, many vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and grains are also excellent sources of protein. Remember, what matters is not the chemical composition of a food, but what you assimilate.

Your body retains fat – you eat it, you wear it! It clogs the arteries and imposes extra strain on the heart. Keep fats to a minimum.

Fibre aids digestion, lower the risk of heart disease and prevents constipation. Fibre intake can easily be increased by switching part of your consumption of white bread, pasta, rice and flour over to their wholegrain equivalents. Whole cereals are also more filling, low calorie, and terrific for weight control

Eat plenty of raw fruit and vegetables and salads. Go for variety – there’s no need to get stuck on lettuce, celery and tomatoes – liven it up with grated carrot, apples, fennel, chick peas, nuts etc.

Salad

Fluids

Obey your thirst. Try to stick to fruit and vegetable juices, mineral water and herbal teas as much as possible; these all help prevent the body being poisoned by its own waste matter. Sip water frequently during the day.

  • Tea and coffee are diuretics – drink in moderation.
  • Animal milks and beers should be treated as foods rather than liquids.
  • As for alcohol, the occasional glass of red wine or whisky can actually be beneficial so long as you avoid using them as a crutch.
  • Avoid drinking less than half an hour before and one hour after meals, because this dilutes the digestive juices.

Take vitamin and mineral supplements

Today’s supermarket foods are lacking in nutrition compared with naturally grown foods of yesteryear, so take a large multivitamin tablet and one gram of vitamin C daily as an insurance policy against ill health.

Improving your diet

Gradual changes are best. An ideal regime for most would be:

  • 60% fresh fruit and vegetables
  • 20% whole grains
  • 10% protein foods
  • 10% fats

Try this: Write down everything that has passed your lips in the last twenty-four hours. Circle anything that falls into the following categories:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Salads
  • Whole grains
  • Fruit juices, mineral water, herbal teas

What proportion of your total intake have you circled?

  • More than 80%: Good for you!
  • 50% to 80%: Quite good
  • 20% to 49%: Considerable room for improvement
  • Less than 20%: You have a death wish!

What changes do you need to make?

Blood sugar

One must for  energy management is keeping a close check on your blood sugar (glucose) level. Low blood sugar causes listlessness and lack of concentration and can put you in a bad mood.

Sugary food are not the answer – within half an hour of eating sweets or drinking high sugar drinks, blood sugar increases, you feel good and your energy level soars. But it drops just as quickly and soon you feel worse and your energy level plunges.

Moreover, if you consume large quantities of processed sugar on a regular basis, the immune system (which seeks out and attacks viruses, bacteria and cancer cells in the bloodstream) is compromised, exposing you to a variety of health risks.

If you feel your blood sugar level is too low and you need a quick boost of energy, take fruit and freshly squeezed fruit juices. In the long term, the only lasting solution is a balanced diet containing plenty of complex carbohydrates (fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains etc.)

Nutrition and stress

Some foods place severe stress on the body. Did you know, for instance, that four cups of full-strength coffee can have the same effect on your body as standing on a railway line with a train coming towards you? The main offenders are anything containing high levels of caffeine (found in coffee, cola drinks, tea, chocolate etc.), refined sugar and starch, alcohol, red meat, and chemical flavourings and preservatives.

If you eat mainly natural, whole and living foods, and take a multi vitamin and mineral supplement daily to help build up the nervous system, stress will be less of a problem for you. The benefits of eating a healthy diet more than make up for the effort involved!

If you are tempted to eat something unwise, stop for a moment. Consider the problems you may be storing up for yourself in the future and the payoff from healthy eating. Then dismiss the idea of eating the unwanted substance from your mind.

Occasionally breaking the rules won’t harm you unless it becomes a habit. If 90% or more of your diet is healthy, you can allow for the occasional indulgence. Treat food as a pleasure to be savoured. Eat well, enjoy your food and take pride in your healthy body!

©David Lawrence Preston, 30.7.2016

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Traditionally, healing substances have come from nature

Humans have always ingested substances for healing and good health. Some of these improve the digestion process, such as prunes and high fibre products. But there are others too. Many foods have healing properties, e.g. honey and lemon for colds, garlic as an antiseptic, an apple a day…. Then there are herbs, valued for their healing properties in almost every society around the world. In some cultures, they even eat soil for healing!

What do these all have in common? They all change the body’s chemistry. And we all know how powerful changes in our biochemistry can be.

Medical biochemists (including most Western doctors) see illness primarily as an unhealthy change in our biochemistry. For them, healing is about finding where the body chemistry is out of kilter and correcting it by introducing some substance whose chemical properties bring about the healing.

Nowadays its usually drugs, but traditionally, healing substances have come from nature. Herbs, for instance, can be taken in their natural state, made into tinctures, tablets etc or smoked.

Natural healing substances

Salad

Water’s healing properties too have long been recognised. One should drink sufficient to maintain the body’s healthy functioning. A useful guide is 1/30 of ones body weight in kg expressed in litres. For instance, a 60 kg person 2 litres of water a day and a 75 kg person 2½ litres. Fruit juices and herb teas count, but not animal milk, carbonated drinks or beer.

Diet too is vital. Diet has a huge impact on health; a change of diet can restore health. The Greek philosopher Hippocrates wisely advised us to let our food be our medicine and our medicine be our food, advice that should never be ignored. That’s why many people take supplements to ensure they get the right amount of vitamins and minerals.

Food with high water content, grown outdoors in sunlight, is healthiest. Our system is designed to bring light to the organs. When observed under the microscope, light, natural wholefoods are seen to emit more light than processed foods.

Healthy diets also eliminate or at least minimise hidden toxins (chemical preservatives, colourings, refined starches and sugars, heavy metals, flavourings, etc.). Toxins, especially heavy metals, block biochemical functions. They are stored mainly in fat cells and can be tackled through detox regimes.

Also many people have to watch their diet due to food allergies (a modern ailment?).

Pharmaceutical Drugs

Today we take our healing doses in concentrated form – i.e. drugs. Drugs are the conventional healing method in the West. Indeed, they are synonymous with modern medicine. They come to us thanks to the same industrial chemical conglomerates and the same type of thinking that brings us pesticides, chemical fertilisers, weedkillers and genetically modified tomatoes.

Originally most drugs were simply highly concentrated forms of plant essences and other natural substances. Only recently have synthetic drugs been developed in laboratories and unleashed on the world. Biochemists try to isolate the active chemical ingredients in substances known to have healing properties and turn them into pills, liquids etc. to be ingested, rubbed on or injected. These include hormones. So pervasive has this approach become that drugs have become synonymous with mainstream western medicine.

And they work! Sometimes and for some people. With or without side effects. Some of the time.

Modern medicine

But isn’t it better to stick to natural methods wherever possible?

©David Lawrence Preston, 16.5.2016

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