Eating a traditional diet is essential for excellent health, it’s how we ate until about 100 years ago. Unfortunately modern times has changed the way we eat, and not for the better! A great book to read is Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine By Ronald F. Schmid N.D.
A 100 years ago humans ate a diet which was wholesome and very nourishing. Our food came from small farmsteads, the land was fertile; the manure and compost enriched the soil. The cows, pigs, chickens and goats were raised on forging grass, wild flowers and wild plants. They were fed vegetables and scraps and ate bugs. We ate from the oceans, fished rivers and lakes from waters that were clean of impurities. We hunted wild game and fowl. Food was not injected or fed hormones or antibiotics.
Because farm animals foraged the milk, eggs and meat were rich in omegas 3s. Cheese, butter, yogurt, and kefir was made from raw (unpasteurized) milk. Food was full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids and enzymes, enabling us to receive all that we need. The water we drank was rich in minerals and living, water came from a creek or a well, and if you didn’t live in a big city the air quality was much better.
Humans mainly ate local food grown seasonally and fermented seasonal food for the winter. Eating seasonal foods attunes the body for the present and next season. Traditional Chinese Medicine categorized food into 5 ‘flavors’:
- Sweet-Late Summer
For example, Bitter flavors which include dandelion greens and root, burdock root and celery aid in digestion and supports heart health. Pungent flavor ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, onion and cinnamon aid in digestion and supports circulation.
Our body has a rhythm known as the circadian rhythm, which is our internal clock and is in sync with our organs and glands.
Digestion is the foundation for receiving nourishment which feeds our organs, brain and keeps our systems functioning optimally. Before and while eating a calm relaxed state is necessary for food to be assimilated and eliminated efficiently. Without proper nutrition our body’s nutrient reserves become depleted and we start to see early aging, inflammation, brain fog and eventually dis-ease.
The most important nutrients necessary for maintaining a strong body and mind are:
- B vitamins
- Anti-oxidants (A, C, D, E and K
- Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc
- Trace minerals selenium and iodine
- Amino acids which are the building blocks to protein
- Essential fatty acids omega 3 & 6
- Enzymes protease, lipase, and amylase
- Hydrochloric Acid Secretion for digestion of CARBS/PROTEIN/FATS
- Probiotics necessary for maintaining a healthy microbiome
- Prebiotics necessary for maintaining a healthy microbiome
Fermented foods are rich in many nutrients such a B vitamin, antioxidants and a full spectrum of minerals and why probiotic rich foods are eaten all over the world!
Fermenting/culturing food is easily made from foods such as apples which ferments into apple cider vinegar, cabbage which ferments into sauerkraut and kimchi or milk which is cultured into yogurt, kefir and quark. These foods are taken daily because they are rich in microbes that help keep our digestive system working fully.
There are six Essential nutrients
- Protein/Amino Acids
- Fat/Essential Fatty Acids
- Minerals & Trace Minerals
There are so many reasons for eating wholesome food!
Antioxidants are powerful nutrients which protect our cells and the body’s system by uniting with undesirable oxygen. Antioxidants are selective against unwanted oxygen reactions, not against the oxygen we require. Oxygen is necessary for our body’s functions, but the presence of too much or too little oxygen creates a toxic by-product called free radicals.
The most important and potent antioxidant for neutralizing free radicals is glutathione, which is made in the liver. It is extremely important to maintain liver health, because it is the organ that produces the most powerful antioxidant in our body. Food rich in anti-oxidants are very important for many functions but especially for clearing toxins keeping our cells strong and vibrant. Glutathione the ‘Master Antioxidant’ is produced from three amino acids
- Glutamic acid
Read more on the liver and glutathione in my article Liver Health and Glutathione the “Master Antioxidant”
The importance of Glutathione:
- Important for memory and the ability to think clearly
- Clear toxins
- Support the immune system
- Nerve health
According to Dr. Weston Price, protein, minerals or water-soluble vitamins cannot be utilized by the body without Vitamin A, and without those nutrients we cannot live a strong healthy life.
Vitamin A is essential for:
- Utilization of protein, minerals and water-soluble vitamins
- Cell protection (antioxidant)
- Stimulating the secretion of digestive juices needed for protein assimilation
- For strong bones
- For healthy rich blood
Vitamin A Retinol comes from: Butterfat, egg yolk, organ meat, seafood and fish liver oil (especially cod liver oil).
Beta carotene comes from: yellow-orange fruits and vegetables and seaweeds; kelp, dulse, hijiki and wakame.
Vitamin C is a major antioxidant in preventing free radical damage. Very important for the immune system! Foods rich in Vitamin C are uncooked fruits and berries, especially acerola berry, rosehips, blueberries, raspberries, lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, red peppers, orange peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, parsley, dark leafy greens, cabbage and sauerkraut.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble antioxidant which is important for the immune system and works synergistically with selenium. Vitamin E is plentiful in butter, nuts, seeds, cold-pressed oils and eggs.
Selenium is a trace mineral which protects the body from heavy metals and free radicals. Selenium is also a component of glutathione. Found in broccoli, Brazil nuts, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, garlic, mushrooms, onions, quinoa, brown rice and rye.
Most important trace minerals: chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese molybdenum, selenium, zinc
CoQ10 is a fat soluble antioxidant which is a necessary enzyme carrier for the foundation of cellular energy. CoQ10 is made in the liver, and is plentiful in liver, heart, meat, poultry and fish. There is some CoQ10 in eggs, nuts, raw dairy, vegetables and fruit. For many people it is best to supplement with CoQ10 until liver health is functioning optimally.
Essential Fatty Acids for overall wellness
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) we most need are the Omega 3s (alpha-linolenic acid) which is necessary for:
- Balanced endocrine system (hormonal system)
- The immune system
- Healthy cardiovascular system
- Nourishing the nervous system
- Healthy brain and mind (emotions)
- Nervous system
Oils are necessary for lubricating our joints, nourishing our brain, and they keep us soft and supple. Food and herbs which best aid in digestion of fats are bitter, pungent and sour.